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Anti-israel Article in Magazine Causes Storm of Protest in Ireland

A Dublin cultural and lifestyle magazine has received more than 2,000 letters of protest after publishing an anti-Israel article by former Irish parliamentarian Justin Keating. The torrent of correspondence began pouring into The Dubliner after Keating’s column, which argues that Israel has no right to exist, was criticized by the media watchdog Web site HonestReporting.com, which compared the piece to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s recent call to “wipe Israel from the face of the map.”

Keating’s article claims that the Jews did not originally come from the land of Israel, but only “occupied some land 2,000 years ago for a historically brief period.”

Within days of the magazine appearing on newsstands, the press officer for the Israeli Embassy, David Golding, contacted Dubliner editor Trevor White to express his disgust at the Keating article.

“It crossed the invisible line from being anti-Israel to being anti-Semitic,” Golding told JTA.

Golding is considering making a formal submission on the issue to Ireland’s National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism, a government-backed agency that tracks hate crimes.

Ireland’s chief rabbi, Ya’akov Pearlman, was quoted in the Jewish Telegraph of Manchester condemning Keating’s column as a “desecration” of Judaism.

In an editorial slated to appear in the next issue of The Dubliner, White describes his anger at receiving what he calls “abusive and vulgar e-mails” accusing the magazine of anti-Semitism.

“I was shocked at the ferocity of what was clearly an attempt to silence dissent,” it says.

A selection of the letters will appear in the magazine and on its Web site, www.thedubliner.ie, on Dec. 16. White also has invited Keating to respond to the criticism.

The controversy has attracted the attention of RTE, Ireland’s state broadcaster, which will feature a panel discussion on the topic Thursday.

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