The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

How Ireland helps Israel’s war industry

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Mainly due to our long experience of colonisation, many Irish have been staunch supporters of the disposessed and oppressed Palestinians. In 2009, Ambassador Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, singled out Ireland as one of the few Western nations to vote for the UN resolution supporting the Goldstone Report detailing Israeli war crimes in Gaza. In June this year, the Irish Ship to Gaza (ISG) campaign claimed that their vessel, the Saoirse (Freedom), was sabotaged by Israel while berthed in the Turkish port of Gocek. And only last Friday, Israeli commandos boarded the Saoirse in international waters off Gaza and detained an Irish Member of the European Parliament on board.

Sadly, some of Ireland’s most prominent institutions appear to be less principled. David Cronin, the author of Europe’s Alliance with Israel: Aiding the Occupation, has written an important piece in detailing the complicity of one of Ireland’s EU Commissioners, many Irish universities, and Ireland’s “newspaper of record” with Israel’s war industry:

Ensconced in Brussels, the only controversy Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has been embroiled in over the past few years related to her bloated income. While she has displayed remarkable chutzpah in seeking to draw down both a European commissioner’s salary and Oireachtas and ministerial pensions, her personal greed is of little consequence compared to her abetting of Israel’s crimes against humanity.

Israel is the most active non-European participant in the EU’s multi-annual scientific research programme, which Geoghegan-Quinn administers. According to the European Commission’s own data, Israel is currently involved in 800 EU-financed research activities with a total value of €4.3 billion. What the Commission is less eager to spell out is that the beneficiaries of this largesse include weapons manufacturers and technology firms that supply Israel with the tools of repression and occupation.

The Irish Times regularly publishes columns on the EU’s research activities by Conor O’Carroll from the Irish Universities Association. Because the seven universities O’Carroll represents receive funding from the EU’s science programme, he has a direct interest in presenting that programme in a positive light. Although the Irish Times is nominally committed to informed debate, its editors have told me on several occasions that they would not have space on their pages for an article explaining how Irish academics cooperate with Israel’s war industry.

Trinity College Dublin, for example, is taking part in a €14.5 million EU-financed project called Total Airport Security System (TASS), under which new surveillance equipment will be installed in Heathrow Airport ahead of next year’s Olympic Games in London. Among the other participants in the TASS consortium are Elbit, a company that has helped install surveillance equipment in the apartheid wall that Israel is building in the West Bank. Elbit was also one of two makers of the pilotless drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs) with which Israel attacked Gaza in 2008 and 2009.

When ruling that the West Bank wall was illegal, the International Court of Justice stated in 2004 that public authorities throughout the world had an obligation not to render any aid or assistance to its construction. Norway – a country outside the EU – has taken that verdict sufficiently seriously to order that its state-owned pension scheme divest from Elbit. Yet Geoghegan-Quinn and her officials continue to subsidise that same company.

The University of Limerick is involved in a €70 million project called Maaximus for developing “more affordable” aircraft than those currently in use. Other participants in this project include Israel Aerospace Industries, another firm that has worked on the West Bank wall and provided warplanes used to kill civilians in Gaza.

University College Cork, meanwhile, is trying to give credence to the Israeli myth that it is saving the world from terrorist attacks. UCC is the official coordinator of an EU-funded project called CommonSense, which is focused on developing sensors for detecting bombs containing radioactive materials. This project also involves the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Israeli Institute for Technology in Haifa. Better known as the Technion, that institute has been responsible for such innovations as a remote-controlled bulldozer, explicitly intended for use in demolishing Palestinian homes.


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

November 10, 2011 at 4:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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