Screenshot of Nurit Tinari-Modai, Israel’s deputy ambassador in Dublin, from a Channel 10 news report on her scheme to smear activists.
Israel’s deputy ambassador in Dublin proposed to her superiors a plan to personally smear Palestine solidarity activists – especially Israelis – to “humiliate and shame them” as suffering from psychological and sexual problems and imply that they work for Israel’s spy agency Mossad.
The full text of the Channel 10 report has been translated from Hebrew by Dena Shunra, with emphasis added:
Deputy to the ambassador in Ireland: the pro-Palestinian activists are motivated by problems in sexual orientation
By Moav Vardi
Senior diplomat Nurit Tinari-Modai, has come up with a new plan to combat the delegitimization activities against Israel: to fight directly with the Israeli activists who take part in it. [“]You have to hurt their soft underbelly, publish their pictures, with the hopes of local activists understanding that they might actually be working on behalf of the Mossad,” she wrote the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and claimed that their motivation is not ideological.
An exceptional statement by a senior Israeli diplomat is published for the first time today (Tuesday), on Channel 10 News. The deputy to the ambassador to Ireland, Nurit Tinari-Modai, has argued that pro-Palestinian Israeli activists who defame Israel abroad are acting from psychological motivation, including problems of sexual identity. Ireland is one of the sharpest hot-spots of the pro-Palestinian activism against Israel, and some of the people who take part in that activity are Israeli.
In a cable Tinari-Modai sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem she proposes a new strategy: work directly against those Israeli activists, humiliate and shame them. “It is possible to obtain names of the Israelis… you have to try and hit their soft underbellies, to publish their photographs, maybe that will cause embarrassment from their friends in Israel and their family, hoping that local activists would understand that they may actually be working on behalf of Mossad,” writes the deputy ambassador.
“The activity of those activists against the state is, in my evaluation, not necessarily ideological (!) but grounded in psychological reasons (generally of disappointment with the parents, [or] sexual identity problems) or the need to obtain a residency visa in one of the countries in Europe,” adds Tinari-Modai.
This letter was met with fury by senior figures at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The deputy ambassador has become entirely confused, this result of going against the Israelis will empower the objectors. It would be better to fight against the delegitimization than to propose deranged ideas,” they told Channel 10 News there.
The official response by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is that “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs unrelentingly fights the delegitimization of Israel everywhere, but does not engage in witch hunts. Such proposals are not aligned with the spirit and customary practice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
Despite denials, this is Israel’s modus operandi
While, as the report says, Israeli officials denounced Tinari-Modai’s plan – perhaps because it was publicly exposed – “naming and shaming” so-called “delegitimizers” is a fundamental part of the influential Reut Institute’s advocacy strategy adopted by the Israeli government and anti-Palestinian lobby groups around the world.
Indeed, Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor publicly enunciated a similar strategy in February 2011 at the Herzliya Conference:
Prosor also presented his idea of what the response should be to those “hardcore delegitimizers” as he put it.
“It’s important to out them, name them, and shame them so that respectable organizations don’t coordinate with them,” he said.
On top of the repugnance of these kinds of tactics, Nurit Tinari-Modai’s emphasis on alleged “sexual identity problems” of those to be smeared, indicates an innate homophobia that is at odds with Israel’s efforts – known as pinkwashing – to portray itself as supportive of the rights of people who identify as LGBTQ.
Irish campaigners urge Dublin to tell Israel to withdraw its deputy ambassador
Irish human rights activists are calling on their government to ask Israel to withdraw its deputy ambassador Nurit Tinari-Modai following the exposure of her plan to smear them.
“This type of behaviour is indicative of the mindset of apologists for Apartheid Israel. They have no legal, political or moral arguments. Instead of questioning Israel’s illegal actions and occupation, they opt to attack human rights activists’ characters and motivations,” said Martin O’Quigley, Chairperson of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) in a statement posted on the group’s website.
Urging the Dublin government to take action, O’Quigley added, “that these kind of proposals are being seriously touted by the Israeli Embassy in Ireland is incredibly worrying, and the Irish government should, at the very least, demand Ms. Modai be withdrawn immediately. Support for such intimidatory behaviour, interference and personalised attacks on human rights activists by a foreign diplomatic mission should be unacceptable in a democratic and sovereign country.”
O’Quigley also pointed out the heightened atmosphere facing those campaigning for Palestinian human rights in Ireland: “in recent weeks, there has been an unprecedented attack on both the campaign for a cultural boycott of Israel and the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) in the Irish media, much of it based on inaccurate and misleading reporting. These attacks have often been highly personalised against individual IPSC members. While this would fit with the modus operandi of the Israeli Embassy, whether or not the embassy has influenced such reporting is impossible to say. However, there is no doubt that the Israeli Embassy can only have been happy with the skewed misrepresentation of the campaign.”
As David Cronin wrote in May, Irish newspapers had declared “open season” on Palestine solidarity activists.