Ireland Basketball Team Not Shaking Hands With Israel Team Does Nothing to Quell Antisemitism Accusations

2024-02-09 10:00:00

Ireland’s women’s basketball team refused to shake hands with Israel’s women’s basketball team at their EuroBasket 2025 qualifier game.

Israeli player Dor Saar said in an interview on Tuesday, “It’s known that they are quite anti-Semitic, and it’s no secret; maybe that’s why a strong game is expected.”

Team Ireland chose not to shake Israeli hands.

No one should be shocked by Saar’s comments. No one should be shocked by Ireland’s behavior, but not for the reason most people think.

Is Saar wrong? Maybe about the players, but definitely not about Ireland.

Weeks before the game, Team Ireland tried to escape it, claiming “safety” reasons.

Five players chose not to play. Coach James Weldon didn’t disclose which players “made it a personal choice” not to play Israel.

Even the author of The Irish Times piece made some comments that would raise eyebrows:

The other side of the story, of course, is that Israel is using the game as propaganda. Members of the Israeli Defence Force have visited with Ireland’s opponents in the build-up to the game and photos of soldiers standing on the hardcourt in fatigues with assault weapons strapped to them have been circulated widely. This is not the biggest fixture in world sport, but it’s not a small thing either.

They’re at WAR, dude. They’re showing support for Israeli teams because places the war pushed Ireland’s antisemitism through the seams so the whole world could see it.

Yes. Ireland is one of the most antisemitic nations we’ve seen since Hamas invaded and massacred thousands of Israelis.

An op-ed in The Irish Times published in January: The anti-Semitism I face, both blatant and casual, is almost exclusively Irish

Oliver Sears, the son of a Holocaust survivor, could not believe the Irish representative at the European Jewish Association Leaders Forum to Fight anti-Semitism and Racism lied about how Jews are loved in Ireland. The representative even said there has been very little antisemitism in the country.

“The anti-Semitism I face, both blatant and casual, is not new and is almost exclusively Irish,” wrote Sears.

Sears also stressed what we already knew: “These are attacks against Jews, not Israelis.”

Unfortunately, the hate Ireland has towards Israel started decades ago. Yes. Decades:

Ireland and Israel did not establish full diplomatic relations until 1975 and there was no Israeli Embassy in Dublin until 1993, with Ireland’s embassy in Tel Aviv opening three years later. The two countries have frequently had a difficult relationship over the past 50 years.

Ireland was, for instance, the first EEC state (as the EU was then called) to back Palestinian statehood in 1980. “Since then, every Irish Government has given a high priority to the achievement of a ‘two state solution,’” the country’s Foreign Ministry proudly declares.

Here are a few more recent examples:


Israel had at least one voice in the Irish government: minister of European affairs and deputy foreign minister Lucinda Creighton.

In 2021, Creighton, now CEO of Vulcan Consulting and senior adviser to the Counter Extremism Project, explained the media did not give people the facts. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Creighton said: “There is very little independent, impartial reporting documenting what is happening in Israel, which feeds into a lack of fact-based knowledge, and I think that allows these narratives to kind of take off and be propagated, and that has been the case in Ireland.”

Creighton explained that no one tells the Irish “about how Hamas’s objective is the obliteration of the Israeli state.” The media is only critical of Israel while sympathetic towards the Palestinians. She said those views from the media are “conflated with broad antisemitic views with very little counter-narrative.”

Therefore, it’s hard “to extract antisemitism from anti-Zionist and anti-Israel sentiment.”

The Times of Israel also detailed the history of anti-Israel sentiments in Ireland. The publication claimed it’s about to get worse with Sinn Féin on the rise:

“If there’s any nation that can understand the difficulties that the Palestinians are living under now it’s the Irish,” Pat Sheehan, a Sinn Féin member of the Northern Ireland Assembly (the province’s devolved parliament), told AFP in late October. “Ireland has suffered colonialism and occupation for 800 years, there have been many armed uprisings against British rule, and we see Palestinians suffering under similar colonial occupation.”

Creighton used a Sinn Féin member as an example in the 2021 article I noted above:

Creighton gave the example of a lawmaker from Sinn Fein named Martin Browne who said that Israel created ISIS and called for the destruction of Israeli Zionists. One of his colleagues in Sinn Fein, Reada Cronin, tweeted that Hitler was a pawn of the Rothschilds, that Israeli embassy staff are akin to monkeys, and that former UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has made antisemitic statements in the past, was targeted by the Mossad. She apologized for the tweets in 2020, but said they had been “glib” and “off the cuff.”

“She apologized for the manner, as opposed to the substance, and didn’t acknowledge it was antisemitic,” Creighton said. “When these statements are made by elected officials, the substance is not really challenged, and that is a problem. That kind of comment is normalized.”

Where is the lie? Sinn Féin posted this video on its YouTube page:

Ireland has no problem showing off its antisemitism.

Remember. It’s not about Palestine. It’s not about Israel.

It’s always been about Jews.


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