Jewish population here not experiencing hostility, says official

No major incidents of anti-Semitism, says chairman of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland

Ireland’s first chief rabbi  developed a strong relationship with Éamon de Valera. In 1966, a forest near Nazareth was dedicated to Mr de Valera on behalf of Ireland’s Jewish community. Photograph: Rowley

Ireland’s first chief rabbi developed a strong relationship with Éamon de Valera. In 1966, a forest near Nazareth was dedicated to Mr de Valera on behalf of Ireland’s Jewish community. Photograph: Rowley

 

The Republic’s Jewish population has experienced little or no hostility since the latest outbreak of violence in Gaza, the chairman of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, Maurice Cohen, has said in an interview with The Irish Times.

“There have been a few emails and messages but not very many. There have never been any major incidents of anti-Semitism in Ireland. Yes, there were those slogans along the [Dublin] quays and on hoardings last year but those involved just foolish people. Such are isolated incidents.”

People make a distinction, he said: “They see us as Irish people of the Jewish faith.” There were, of course, “virulent examples of anti-Semitism on certain online publications”, he added.

He described the Israel-Gaza conflict as “absolutely horrendous” and said he felt for every person killed and injured on all sides. The council and himself wanted “to see a peaceful Israel and Palestine as soon as possible. We hope the two states can come about and live in peace, otherwise it will just go around and around. We want to see their swords become ploughshares.”

The Israeli Labor Party leader and leader of the opposition in the Knesset, Isaac Herzog, has strong Irish connections, he noted, and the representative council intended to invite him to visit Ireland.

Former president

Chaim HerzogFianna Fáil

Mr Cohen said that when he was growing up in Dublin during the 1950s and 1960s “there was a huge affinity between Ireland and Israel”.