While the anti-Israel hatefest in Ireland reaches new heights (Israeli soldiers depicted as Nazis; pro-Palestinian activists calling for rocks hurled at its Dublin embassy; a newspaper printing “Welcome to hell” to Israel’s ambassador), Israeli diplomats in Ireland decided to strike back in a decidedly undiplomatic manner.
On Monday, the Israeli Embassy in Dublin recruited the images of Jesus and Mary to make a point that pro-Palestinian activists’ presentation of Israel as racist isn’t exactly reflective of a reality on the ground in which Jews are threatened daily.
The embassy posted on its Facebook page an image of Jesus and Mary with the message:
“A thought for Christmas… If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians. Just a thought…….”
The embassy quickly took down the message and apologized for offending Palestinians and Christians. Palestinian activists are up in arms, while Israel’s supporters say the embassy’s only sin was telling the truth.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry later posted this message and said it would conduct an internal investigation:
“To whom it may concern: An image of Jesus and Mary with a derogatory comment about Palestinians was posted without the consent of the administrator of the Facebook page. We have removed the post in question immediately. Apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Merry Christmas!”
This isn’t the first time the Israeli embassy in Ireland has taken a more aggressive approach to anti-Israel activism in the country the Israeli Foreign Ministry once labeled the most hostile toward Israel in Europe. The Times of Israel reports:
In June, Channel 10 published a letter in which Deputy Head of Mission Nurit Tinari Modai suggested to fight the growing delegitimization of Israel by going after expatriate Israelis who are critical of the government in Jerusalem. In that letter, she also wrote that those Israelis dislike Israel partly because they are “sexually confused.”
The Foreign Ministry distanced itself from her letter at the time, saying her suggestions were the wrong way to fight delegitimization.
Jonathan Tobin of Commentary Magazine writes that while it would have been wiser for Israel not to bring the holy family into the debate, “their ‘offensive’ post was primarily guilty of doing the one thing that diplomats are generally urged to avoid: telling the truth.” He writes (emphasis added):
…Israel’s Dublin embassy has come to the reasonable conclusion that it needs to stop playing defense when it comes to correcting misperceptions about the Middle East conflict. In too many instances, Israeli diplomats and spokespersons have avoiding getting into scrapes but in the process failed to adequately defend their country at a time when a rising tide of anti-Semitism has distorted the debate about the Middle East conflict in Europe.[…]
It should also be stated that the post did no more than state the obvious when it noted that Jews without security in Palestinian Authority-ruled Bethlehem are at grave risk. Indeed, Rachel’s Tomb, which is located outside the town, is often besieged by violent Palestinians seeking to take over that Jewish shrine.
In raising the subject, the embassy did the unthinkable and told the truth about Palestinian violence and prejudice. While that might have been considered undiplomatic, that is something that more Israeli diplomats as well as members of the media ought to be doing more often.
A cornerstone of Palestinian public diplomacy for years has been to deny the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel - not only to Jerusalem, but also to Bethlehem - and to the rich Jewish history of the Bible including Jesus’ Jewish heritage. As TheBlaze reported exactly a year ago today, after pressing the button to light the Christmas tree in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Christmas is an opportunity to “celebrate the Palestinian identity of Jesus Christ.”