Wiesenthal Centre to Irish Prime Minister: "Economic Meltdown Cannot be Camouflaged by Anti-Semitism"

Paris, 24 November 2010

In a letter to Irish Prime Minister, Brian Cowen, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels lamented that "the Centre was struck by the timing of an event in Dublin, sadly reminiscent of financial scapegoating of the 1930's."

The letter continued, "In the midst of Ireland's greatest post-war crisis, a poster illustrating an atomized Europe around a Star of David, invites the public on 3 December to an Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign book launch/wine and cheese reception. The book, 'Europe's Alliance with Israel: Aiding the Occupation', apparently, presents the EU as encouraging 'the Apartheid State of Israel' and "calls for a continuation and deepening of international activism and protest to halt the EU's slide into complicity," adding that "it explores the complex political ties that have prevented European countries from holding Israel to account."

Samuels asked, "Who are these complex political ties?" noting that "the poster, and book cover it features, arguably fit the 2004 "Working Definition of Anti-Semitism" of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, to which Ireland is, ipso facto, party."

He explained that in the late 1980's, he had "led a mixed caucus of Irish-American and Jewish-American United States Senators and Congressmen to Jerusalem and Dublin, co-organized by the Irish Development Authority. The declared purpose of the hosts was, to adapt from the empathy of American Jewry for the Jewish State, a programme to enhance the affinity of Americans of Irish origin to the economy and land of their roots - then enjoying an economic boom."

Samuels stressed, "Anti-Semitic scapegoating has too often served to deflect attention from economic suffering. In the 1930's, this led democracies into the abyss."

The Centre urged the Prime Minister "to publicly condemn the timing of this poster and the book cover's subliminal message."

"In wishing Ireland a speedy recovery, we are confident that the people of Ireland will never allow the circumstances of the meltdown - reportedly, extortionate bank fees, obscene bonuses and mismanagement - to be camouflaged by anti-Semitism," concluded Samuels.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).


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