Blogger rejects claims of smear campaign


DISCLOSURE:THE POLITICAL blogger who publicised the 1997 sentencing for statutory rape by Ezra Nawi, the former partner of Senator David Norris, yesterday rejected any claims of a conspiracy or an orchestrated smear campaign.

John Connolly, who blogs under the title of The System Works, said the person who had first told him about Mr Nawi’s criminal record had not been aware that he had been convicted of a sexual offence.

Mr Connolly told The Irish Timesyesterday that his source was a regular correspondent with his blog – which advances strongly pro-Israeli views. He said the source came from a trade union background and had once campaigned for Michael D Higgins but was not associated with the Labour Party.

“I spoke to the source last night who pointed out that he or she had said that Nawi had “convictions relevant to your interest”, and that referred to other convictions”, he said.

Mr Connolly said the source was referring to convictions Mr Nawi had received in Israel for political activities rather than for the sexual one, for which he was imprisoned in 1997.

“There have been a lot of conspiracy theories. I have received a lot of messages that I am smearing David Norris and am an Israeli agent.

“There are rumours about nonsensical things about my connections with Israeli diplomats and with Mossad.

“Nobody smeared David Norris. He did not deny anything that was put out on my blog,” he said.

Mr Connolly, from Bandon in west Cork, is a law graduate from Griffith Law School in Dublin. The postgraduate student lives in England and is a regular blogger.

The Israeli embassy in Dublin dismissed allegations that it was involved in leaking details about the letter and said the allegations had “absolutely no foundation”.

In a statement, the embassy rejected what it called “allegations made in the media by some Irish public figures”.

“No such letter was or is in the possession of the embassy; as in Ireland, the judicial system in democratic Israel is entirely separate from the government and ministry of foreign affairs,” the statement said.

A spokesman for the Labour Party said that neither the party nor its candidate, Michael D Higgins, had any involvement with the controversy that affected Mr Norris.

The spokesman was responding to Mr Connolly’s blog referring to his source as a person who campaigned for Mr Higgins.