Boyd Barrett defends labelling Israel a ‘psychopath’ state as Tánaiste accuses TD of spreading hate

People Before Profit TD says he has ‘an unquestionable record of opposing anti-Semitism’ as he calls for ‘intifada’ against Israel

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has accused People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett of spreading “bile and hate” about Israel.

Mr Boyd Barrett spoke at an Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally outside Dáil Éireann on Saturday in which he called Israel a “psychopath” state.

He said: “The only think you can do with a state like that is resist it and bring it down. That is what has to happen with the filthy, apartheid, racist, colonial settler regime that is Israel.

“We have to do with we did in South Africa, we have to do what they did in Vietnam, we have to do with they did in Algeria, we have to do what we did here in Ireland – resist them. The only answer to this is intifada.”


Mr Martin described the resumption of the Israeli bombing of Gaza as “unconscionable” but he said Mr Boyd Barrett’s comments would appear to suggest that he was “denying the right of Israel to exist or indeed the Israeli people to live in Israel”. Many people, he continued, “would see bile in that, would see hate in that”.

A clip of Mr Boyd Barrett’s comments from Saturday’s rally was posted on X by Irish-born Israeli-resident Daniel Rosehill and has gone viral with more than one million views.

Mr Rosehill stated: “My recommendation is that so long as this despicable anti-Semitic hate speech is allowed to go unchallenged week after week in Dublin – and is even protected by police – no Jewish person of integrity should voluntarily step foot in Ireland.”

Mr Boyd Barrett denied spreading hatred towards Israel. “The opposite is the case. Precisely because I abhor apartheid and the murderous attacks happening in Gaza, I have a long time been a critic of the apartheid system that Israel operates. I would have the same attitude to the apartheid system in Israel as I had in South Africa.”

When asked if he supported the right of Israel to exist, he replied: “I don’t support the right of an apartheid regime anywhere to exist. I have long been an advocate of the one-state solution as are many Jewish critics of the apartheid state around the world.

“People should democratically decide their own future. Israel has set its face against that. It has built a state based on a racist hierarchy.”

In response to Mr Rosehill’s comments that he was motivated by anti-Semitism, he said: “It is a common trope for those who want to defend the apartheid system Israeli operates as being anti-Semitic. It is the opposite of the truth. The vast majority of people who support the Palestinians are motivated by opposition to all forms of racism including anti-Semitism.

“I have a long record of opposing all forms of racism including, for example, organising tours of Auschwitz survivors in the 1990s to combat the far right and to remind people of the Nazi holocaust. I have an unquestionable record of opposing anti-Semitism.”

Meanwhile, councillors in Dublin City Council have agreed a motion to overturn a decision made in November not to fly the Palestinian flag from above City Hall for a week as a display of solidarity with the people of Gaza.

The flag is due to be flown from Tuesday for seven days in the capital.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times