European Jewish Congress
Irish president meets BDS leader
Ireland
Irish president meets BDS leader

Ireland’s president met with Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Michael Higgins shook Barghouti’s hand and warmly acknowledged him at a conference of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the largest civil society organisation on the island of Ireland with 80,000 members.

“You give a great example of your internationalism by organising fringe events and by inviting Omar Barghouti who will speak on the challenge ahead for Palestine,” Higgins said during a July 4 speech at the organisation’s biennial conference, which took place in Belfast. 

The conference delegates endorsed the BDS movement.

Speaking at the conference, Barghouti sought support for his calls for a boycott of Israel. BDS targets “complicity” in Israeli crimes, “not ethnicity,” he said.

Responding to a Times of Israel query, the president’s spokesperson, Hans Zomer, said Higgins was “briefly introduced” to the guest speakers by the organization’s general secretary before he proceeded to deliver his keynote address. “After his address, the President then departed for Dublin to attend to State business, which included meeting Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada,” Zomer wrote in an email.

He did not reply to repeated questions regarding the president’s position on boycotts of Israel.

Israel’s embassies in Dublin and London were aware of Barghouti’s visit to the trade union conference, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon. “The ambassador in Dublin [Ze’ev Boker] delivered his protest at the appropriate levels on the inclusion of Barghouti in the Irish president’s greetings to the conference participants,” he told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.

Higgins, 76, was a senior member of Ireland’s Labour party before becoming president in 2011.

 Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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