The campaign of antisemitic abuse against Ireland’s most senior Jewish politician has intensified with images of Nazi soldiers, swastikas and a package of white powder sent to his home.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s Jewish background, support for Israel and even domestic reform policies have been used as excuses for antisemitic insults.
But the abuse plumbed new depths when items were sent to his home in the Ballinteer area of south Dublin last Wednesday, causing a major security scare.
After an investigation, it was discovered that the white powder was baking powder.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny told Ireland’s parliament, the Dáil, that the incident had been “a new low” and said Mr Shatter’s colleagues found the episode deplorable.
As other ministers rallied to back Mr Shatter, Health Minister James Reilly said: “I have a message for those who are responsible: they’re not part of the Ireland I believe in, not part of the republic I want to live in.”
Mr Shatter has not commented on the incident, which came as he faced serious political pressure and survived a vote of no confidence following weeks of controversy over his handling of the country’s police force.
His wife Carol told Irish media that the abuse sent to their home had been “absolutely disgusting”.
The Jewish Representative Council of Ireland said: “We are deeply disturbed. It highlights a growing trend across Europe where political discourse and support is growing for parties and groups who adopt racist views in politics.”
The council called on politicians from all sides to “stand collectively in solidarity with the minister against all forms of racism, religious abuse or intolerance”.
Last year Mr Shatter told the JC that receiving criticism was part of being a minister, but that some abuse had been “over the top.
“I’m well used to being criticised. But I’m afraid there’s always a small number of people who express views that are not appropriate. There are people who are antisemitic,” he said.
Two years ago, YouTube closed the account of a user who posted antisemitic clips accusing Mr Shatter of being a “Jewish nation-wrecker who was destroying Ireland”.