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Irish political party drops Jewish candidate

Israeli citizen Orli Degani was reportedly removed by the Social Democrats over differences on the Gaza conflict

A businesswoman with Israeli citizenship who lives in Ireland and has entered politics there is claiming that Ireland is becoming increasingly unwelcoming and unsafe for its Jewish community, local media reported on Wednesday.

Orli Degani’s comments came after the aspiring politician was dropped by the Social Democrats party as a candidate last week, ahead of a local elections next month.

Degani is a German-born Jewish woman with Israeli citizenship who has lived in Ireland for more than five years. In a statement cited by local media outlets Degani claimed the party had deselected her “for reasons which are an affront to the values of equality and inclusivity.”

She said that she had tried to “constructively engage” with the party to address “the actions and statements” made by some of its members regarding Israel and its offensive in Gaza, and the impact they were having on the local Jewish community. She claimed that Jews were feeling “more and more unwelcome and unsafe in Ireland” as well as in her prospective constituency in the capital, Dublin.

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Last month, the Social Democrats’ leader Holly Cairns condemned the “senseless” “slaughter” of seven aid workers in Gaza in an Israeli air strike on a humanitarian convoy.

In February, the party’s foreign affairs spokesperson Gary Gannon described senior members of the Israeli government as “extremists.”

In January, the Social Democrats welcomed the ruling by the International Court of Justice that found it ‘plausible’ that Israel had committed genocide in Gaza.

Last year the party called for EU-wide economic sanctions against Israel.

According to public broadcaster RTE, there was a feeling among the Social Democrats that Degani’s views were no longer compatible with the party’s stance on the conflict.

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A source within the party told The Irish Times that Degani was selected before the start of the latest escalation between Israel and Hamas in October. Her views initially were in line with the Social Democrats’ support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, according to the source, Degani found the party’s stance increasingly difficult to deal with as the conflict progressed. Her candidacy became “unsustainable” after she objected to the use of the Palestinian flag at party events. Currently the party’s website contains no mention of Orli Degani.

Degani said that she will stand as an independent candidate in the local elections, scheduled for June 7.

Israel launched its massive offensive in Gaza following the October 7 attack by radical group Hamas, which claimed the lives of around 1,200 Israelis. The response by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the densely populated Palestinian enclave has come under increasing scrutiny and has been widely criticized – even by the country’s US and European allies. According to Gaza authorities, Israeli strikes have killed more than 34,000 people, mostly civilians.

May 02, 2024 at 07:33PM
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