Call to withdraw OECD invitation


DUBLIN PROTEST:SIPTU PRESIDENT Jack O’Connor has called on the Government to lead the way in reversing the decision to allow Israel to join the OECD, after the attack on the Gaza flotilla.

Mr O’Connor described the attack as “a betrayal of the memory of the victims of the Holocaust”. In an impassioned speech at a protest march that began at the GPO in O’Connell Street in Dublin the Siptu president also joined calls for Ireland’s ambassador to Israel to be expelled “not forever, but until his country complies with UN resolutions and with international law”. He also backed the campaign to disinvest in Israel and boycott its products.

According to Garda estimates, 1,700 protesters marched to the Israeli embassy in Ballsbridge led by the Siptu president, the Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Emer Costello and members of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrews an Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh, who had joined the flotilla but were not allowed beyond Cyprus, also marched.

Mr Ó Snodaigh said negotiations between the State and an Israeli company to supply the Defence Forces with half a million rounds of ammunition “must be put on hold”.

Mr O’Connor said Ireland had supported the vote in recent days to allow Israel to join the OECD but “Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin must now lead the way to reverse that decision”.

He said it was “no wonder” Israel acted the way it did when after using the passports of the citizens of other countries “to murder your opponents”, ignoring UN resolutions, treating their greatest supporter US president Barack Obama “with contempt” by continuing to build new settlements, they had murdered and maimed and “after you do all that and your reward is to be granted membership of the OECD, can you blame them for misunderstanding the international message?”