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Wednesday 21 February 2018

How outspoken senator enraged Israel supporters

Grainne Cunningham

THROUGHOUT his public life David Norris has been outspoken on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and has frequently drawn the ire of pro-Israeli commentators for his remarks.

While back in 2004 he spoke in measured tones about his closeness to and admiration for the Israelis, the language of recent comments has been more incendiary.

November 2010: Mr Norris called on the Israeli authorities to end their "cynical, heartless and contemptible exploitation of the Holocaust for their own political purposes. This lets us all down, including those tragic victims of Auschwitz and all the other terrible camps".

February 2008: In a statement to the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Norris said: "I have condemned the rocket attacks emanating from the area (Gaza) but they are the responsibility of maverick mobile units that do not necessarily represent the local population. Members of these units disperse as soon as the rockets are fired and the Israelis then hit back at local civilians, resulting in terror."

July 2006: In the Seanad he described Gaza as "an open-air concentration camp".

July 2006: In a letter to the Irish Independent, Mr Norris wrote: "So the prevailing moral imperative in the Middle East is Israel's 'right to defend herself', according to bully boys Blair and Bush. What, one may ask, is then left to the Lebanese and Palestinian civilians men, women and children? Merely the 'right' to be incinerated in the Israeli blitzkrieg? How reassuring, how moral, how Christian."

August 2006: Mr Norris addressed the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee in the wake of the killing of more than 600 civilians by both Israel and Hizbollah. Mr Norris said the weak, incompetent Israeli government, behaving in such a macho way, had squandered the political capital of the Holocaust.

October 2004: Mr Norris launches a report in which he accuses Israel of "destroying any chance of a two-state solution for Palestinian and Israeli people" through "illegal actions" in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Irish Independent

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