Dr. Zion Evrony, the Israeli ambassador to Ireland was greeted with
boos and hisses, shouted slogans and Palestinian flags as he began a
speech at the Law School of the National University of Ireland in
Belfast. The protest was launched by Irish supporters of Palestine,
and sponsored by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Committee.
In the Galway protest, students, activists, Palestinians and other Arab-Irish supporters carried signs such as, "Israel has ignored 46 U.N. [United Nations] Resolutions Against It. The U.S. has vetoed 40 U.N. Resolutions Condemning Israeli Criminal Actions", "Israel on Trial: Murder of 786 Palestinian Children since 2000: Guilty, Murder of 4171 Palestinian Adults since 2000: Guilty", and "Pity the Nation – Again [a reference to Ireland's own conflict with a foreign occupying power – England]".
One student who attended the lecture gave the following account, "The ambassador treated the audience as though we had just come down in the last shower. He made territorial claims in his speech and told us that if we read 'the right history boooks' we would come to understand his point of view. He tried making jokes most of which went down like a lead balloon. He further claimed that Israel did not target civilians and attempted to justify the invasion of Lebanon. As if this wasn't sickening enough he bagan to talk about the great war for civilisation and democracy (here I am paraphrasing, I cannot remember his exact words) and pretty much claimed that Israel's actions were making the world, including Ireland, a safer place anmd that western media was biased AGAINST Israel! Some Arabic members of the audience and some members of the IPSC society took exception to his remarks about fifteen minutes into the diatribe. They began to heckle and were asked to leave. As a mark of solidarity with the hecklers and disgust with the speaker about thirty to forty others left in solidarity. This included all members of the IPSC, the Socialist Party, Sinn Fein and several members of Amnesty International (acting on an individual basis) as well as a large number of others including many of the Palestinians in the audience."
The attendee, who identified himself as James, stated that, "On leaving we began chanting in the Foyer of the building where a Garda [Irish police] cordon prevented us moving further back into the building. After some time we began moving around to the side door to blockade the ambassadors car, a black BMW. A detachment moved around the building to get behind the car as a Garda cordon was preventing us from completely surrounding it. The Gardai then physically pushed us back from behind the car and around to the other side of the building. Here we noticed that a Renault station wagon with diplomatic plates had been driven up to a different door. There was an Israeli agaent in the car who hopped into the back seat and began using her phone. We maintained a presence at both cars for some time all the time chanting 'Free, Free Palestine'"
He continued, "Inside, the Ambassador was facing a barrage of questions from various people in the audience. When it came time for him to leave a second black BMW ploughed through the crowd flanked by Special Branch agents. The Mossad driver showed no regard whatsoever for the people around the car and was driving at speed in a dangerous manner in a pedestrian area. He drove up to a fire escape some thirty or forty feet from the renault and a phalanx of Gardai, Special Branch and Mossad agents surrounded the car while the amabassador came out and climbed in. The driver then took off at speed while Special Branch agents threw protestors out of the way in a rough manner. A number of people were manhandled or bumped by the car but no injuries were sustained."
James stated that "The protest was impassioned and loud but was peaceful at all times and while some Gardai behaved in a rough manner many gave us messages of support and said 'fair play to ye' saying they were only there because they had to be. Similar messages of support were received from campus security and University staff."
He said the only people who objected at all to the protest were a few members of the law society who had organised the Israeli Ambassador's talk, adding, "When they came out in their suits and fancy frocks to berate the protestors following the ambassador's departure they were met with chants of 'There's no Justice with Lawyers!'"
This is not the first time the Israeli ambassador in Ireland has received such criticism. In July, during the Israeli war with Lebanon, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, a member of the Irish Parliament and the spokesperson on International Affairs for the Sinn Féin party, demanded the recall of the Israeli ambassador from his post in Ireland, saying, "[The Irish government] should call in the Israeli Ambassador and express in the strongest possible terms Ireland's opposition to Israel's attacks on Lebanon. The government must insist that they comply with international law, if not they will be subject to sanctions from the international community."
At that time, Ó Snodaigh also proposed "the suspension of the preferential trade agreement between the European Union and Israel, which provides Israel with favourable conditions when trading with EU member states including Ireland."