Sir, – In his interview (“Irish minister to ‘Post’: Ireland not hostile, Israel should distinguish between NGOs and the gov’t,” March 17), Minister of Justice, Equality and Defense Alan Shatter is right about the obsessive focus of non-governmental organizations on Israel. Left unmentioned, though, is his government’s direct and indirect funding of Israeli, Palestinian, Irish and international NGOs that lead the effort to delegitimize Israel.
Irish Aid, the official governmental overseas assistance agency, directly funds highly politicized Palestinian and Israeli NGOs. Some are active in boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns, anti-Israel campus activities and “lawfare” against Israeli officials. Ireland also funds Trócaire, which serves as a main conduit of Irish government funding for radical NGOs, some of which support a “right of return,” reject the twostate solution and inflame the conflict. Trócaire has conducted campaigns calling on the EU to remove all of Israel’s trade privileges and block it from membership in the OECD. Gary Walsh, its OPT/Israel program officer, is a former national coordinator for the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Shatter’s declarations of Ireland’s friendship are welcome.
But his government’s funding of obsessively anti-Israel NGOs that perpetuate conflict rather than peace is inconsistent with such declarations.