Israel denies leaking clemency plea letter
ISRAEL last night dismissed claims that it was involved in the publication of the controversial clemency plea letter which ended Senator David Norris's campaign.
There were suggestions that the letter sent to an Israeli court by Mr Norris in 1997 on behalf of his former partner was being circulated before Mr Norris supplied it to the 'Sunday Independent' himself.
And the fact that the statutory rape conviction of Mr Norris's former partner, Ezra Yizhak Nawi, had been brought to public attention in the first place by a pro-Israeli blogger also fuelled speculation.
Independent Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath yesterday called for an investigation into whether Israel was involved in the controversy. "I'd like our own Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore to have a proper investigation into this issue as it is a very important one, particularly following the passports scandal," he said.
Last year, an official at the Israeli embassy in Dublin was expelled following the use of eight fake Irish passports in an assassination carried out by the Israeli secret service Mossad.
But the Israeli embassy said yesterday there was no foundation to allegations that it was involved in the publication of the Norris letter.
It said that Israel did not intervene in the democratic political contests of other states on behalf of, or against, particular candidates. And the embassy pointed out that there had been a "friendly" as well as a combative relationship between Mr Norris and successive Israeli ambassadors.
"There is much admiration in Israel for Senator Norris's work in Ireland in the cause of human rights and in particular for his endeavours for reform of the laws relating to homosexuality," it said.
The Irish blogger John Connolly (22), who publicised the conviction of Nawi, has said he had no contact with the Israeli embassy or the Israeli secret service about it.
Mr Norris himself said the entire situation had become surrounded with conspiracy theories. He said he had never made any allegation of Israeli involvement.
"I said that I would be very loath to do that, I would not make such allegations because that would immediately create a very complicated and delicate situation between two states, both of whose people I loved, and I think it would be a most un-presidential thing to do," he told Today FM.