Why is Ireland so eager to attract Israel’s software geeks?

Intel is a major investor in both Ireland and Israel. (Via Twitter)

A three-letter acronym is treated with great reverence in Ireland: FDI.

Foreign direct investment is an absolute priority. Leaders have for many years expressed a desire to make Ireland the best small country in the world for doing business.

Such thinking explains at least partly why the Dublin government has not taken any concrete action in response to Israel’s genocidal war against Gaza.

Following an enquiry by the lawmaker Catherine Connolly, Ireland’s enterprise and trade ministry has admitted that it recently issued 100 work permits for Israeli software engineers.

The permits were granted as part of an “intra-company transfer.” Under the arrangement staff employed with the chipmaker Intel in Israel have taken up jobs at the corporation’s Irish plant.

This important detail has not – to the best of my knowledge – been reported in the mainstream media.

That is despite how Intel was in the news last month when it and a few other firms pulled out of the Web Summit, a major conference.

The firms were irked by how Paddy Cosgrave, the summit’s then CEO, had denounced Israel’s war crimes. Cosgrave resigned under pressure from the titans of tech.

Headquartered in California, Intel has large plants in both Israel and Ireland.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, announced in June that Israel was to spend $25 billion on developing a new plant in the country. According to Netanyahu, the deal was the largest ever investment in Israel.


Long before that announcement was made, Intel’s Israeli and Irish branches were known to be working together on numerous projects.

That cooperation is a taboo subject in Ireland. With a few exceptions, politicians are loath to say or do anything which might displease big business.

As well as refusing to impose economic sanctions on Israel, Ireland’s ruling coalition has rejected calls for other types of action. Last week the Dublin government voted against motions urging that Israel’s ambassador be expelled and that Ireland formally refer Israel’s violence in Gaza to the International Criminal Court.

Following those debates, Micheál Martin, Ireland’s foreign minister, flew to Israel. Comments that he made as he posed for photos with Eli Cohen, his Israeli counterpart, conveyed the impression that Israel was a victim rather than an aggressor.

Martin, as it happens, is far from being the worst political representative in the European Union. Because he has urged a ceasefire, there is a perception that Ireland is critical of Israel.
In reality, all EU countries have backed Israel and allowed it to sell a genocidal war as an act of self-defense.

Spain’s Ione Belarra was a rare voice among European governments in seeking that Israeli leaders be brought to justice for their crimes.

Her willingness to be outspoken may be a factor in how she has been removed from her post as a minister this week.

Another Spanish politician Josep Borrell is the EU’s foreign policy chief.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, he declined to pass judgment on whether Israel is committing war crimes by noting that he is not a lawyer. His lack of qualifications did not prevent him from accusing Hamas of war crimes.

Perhaps inadvertently, Borrell underscored how the EU is embracing the oppressor and blaming the oppressed.

While feigning concern for Palestinians, the EU has really sided with Israel for decades. Nobody can doubt it any longer.