Ireland has 'selective amnesia' about Hamas atrocities, says Jewish leader

Maurice Cohen said the people presenting other views were being 'shunned'


People walk past a pro-Palestinian mural on the Republican Falls Road in Belfast on October 23, 2023. Northern Ireland may be thousands of miles from the Middle East but signs of the current heightened conflict can be seen on the streets of the British province. Palestinian and Israeli flags flutter in pro-Irish and pro-UK neighbourhoods in Northern Ireland, tapping into its own history of conflict and division that still affects everyday life despite a 1998 peace deal that largely ended violence. (Photo by Paul Faith / AFP) (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Ireland has “selective amnesia” about the Hamas atrocities on October 7, the head of the country’s Jewish council has said.

Maurice Cohen, chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, told the Guardian that collective thinking about the conflict in Ireland had “morphed into the narrative that while the Irish fought to remove the occupiers so, too, are the Palestinians trying to remove the ‘occupiers’.”

He said that antisemitism was proliferating on social media and condemnation of Hamas atrocities tended to be perfunctory.

“Most concerning is the surreptitious shunning and remarks and collective blame in the workplace where there are Jewish people and Israelis present,” he said, adding that “a collective ‘selective amnesia’ to October 7 appears to have set in.”

He also said people forgot that the former Israeli president Chaim Herzog – father of the current president, Isaac Herzog – was born in Belfast and grew up in Dublin.

Niall Holohan, a retired diplomat, also told the Guardian that Irish people had a blind spot about Hamas, which he called a repressive and extremist Islamist organisation. “They simply don’t know enough about it.”

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