Israel has a fundamental right to exist and defend itself, a speaker at a pro-Israeli demonstration in Dublin has proclaimed.
Cllr Richard Humphreys, the Labour Party Councillor for the Stillorgan Ward, has said that there needs to be a wider recognition of the right of Israel to exist, and its consequential right to defend itself against the rocket attacks on its citizens launched by Hamas’s terrorist regime in Gaza.
Humphreys was speaking at the historic first major rally in solidarity with Israel, held at the GPO on Sunday 25 November.
“This is a day when we stand in solidarity, friendship and dialogue with Israel. Israel’s right to exist must be acknowledged, as the only Jewish state in the world and the only liberal secular democracy in the Middle East.” Humphreys said.
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“Any state that has a right to exist must also have a right to defend itself. There is no country in the world that could tolerate hundreds of rocket attacks launched on its territory, bringing hardship, fear, disruption, injury and death to its people.”
“This rally for peace in Israel is also a moment of optimism.” Humphreys said. “This first major rally for peace in Israel is a historic moment and a sign that the tide of opinion is turning. There are many signs that Irish society is becoming more balanced and realistic in addressing issues relating to the Middle East. Anti-Semitic attitudes are increasingly being challenged – and the most insidious form of anti-Semitism is the systematic attempt to impose a standard to judgeIsrael which is not used to judge any other country. Many Irish champions of human rights are surprisingly silent about the brutal outrages perpetrated by the terrorist Hamas regime against women, gay people, or political opponents, and about many vicious attacks on human rights in some of Israel’s near neighbours. This double standard is now being challenged, which I find very encouraging.”
“The inherent fascism of the attempt to impose a cultural boycott on Israel is also being named and exposed. As a Labour Party councillor I especially welcome the presence of the Tánaiste and Labour Party Leader Eamon Gilmore at the Israel Film Days, organised by the Embassy of Israel, in November 2011.”
“It is hard to talk about solidarity with Israel without also acknowledging the enormously positive contribution that the Jewish people have made to society, not just in Israel but in Ireland and across the world. On a personal note I come to this issue with an enormous sense of gratitude for the opportunity I had to work for Ireland’s first Jewish cabinet Minister, the Labour Party’s Mervyn Taylor. I am also profoundly grateful for the insights that so many Jewish writers and thinkers have shared with the world. Intellectuals of Jewish heritage such as Jacob Bronowski, Viktor Frankl, Irvin Yalom, Carl Sagan, Alain de Botton and many others are among the most inspiring figures of modern civilization.”
“As well as solidarity and optimism, I think it is also important to emphasise the need for compassion.” Humphreys said. “Each death or injury of an innocent civilian in Gaza is a tragedy which must primarily be lain at the door of Hamas, but which also calls for restraint and for the path of peace. It is essential to recognise that there is a Palestinian perspective and there is Palestinian suffering. Many Arab commentators have taken the lead in pointing out that a great deal of that suffering is self-inflicted but it is real nonetheless. A lasting peace must be founded on dialogue between enemies and on a historic effort to accommodate both sets of identities.”