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Irish citizen harassed on Dublin street by Israeli security operative

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Wednesday March 10, 2010 11:20author by Fintan Lane - IPSC media officerauthor phone 087 1258325 Report this post to the editors

Harassment of Irish human rights activist on Dublin street by Israeli embassy security condemned

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I'm a Photographer, not a Terrorist

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) is calling on the Departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs to clarify the latitude and legal standing accorded to foreign embassy security personnel in Ireland.

This follows the harassment yesterday (8 March) - on a public street in Dublin - of a leading Irish Palestine solidarity activist by a member of the Israeli embassy security team.

Dr David Landy, chairperson of the IPSC, described what occurred as “an outrageous breach of protocol” and “very sinister.” Furthermore, he called on the relevant government departments “to seek an immediate explanation and apology from the Israeli ambassador.”

In the bizarre incident, Freda Hughes, a prominent member of the IPSC, was aggressively questioned about her name and movements by an Israeli embassy staff member while walking on Northumberland Road in Dublin 4.

According to Ms Hughes, “While out walking, I passed the Israeli embassy at around 5.30pm with a friend of mine. I approached from Pembroke Road and rounded the bend onto Northumberland Road. A member of the embassy staff and a Garda were outside the embassy on the Pembroke Road side. I didn’t engage with them in any way whatsoever and simply walked past while chatting to my friend.”

She continued, “Further up the road, I stopped at the disused petrol station on Northumberland Road to take a photograph of a piece of graffiti because I’m currently compiling an album of Dublin street art. At this point, I was amazed to discover that I had been followed by both the Israeli security man and the Garda. This was some distance from the embassy building and, to be honest, I hadn’t realised that they’d paid any attention to me, so I was rather taken aback.”

“The two men approached me together and the Garda asked where I had come from and where I was going. Then, to my surprise, the Israeli embassy staff member, who I think is himself Israeli, questioned me about my name and movements, and then demanded to see my camera. I refused to answer his questions or show him my camera.”

Freda Hughes is a teacher and educational researcher in the National University of Ireland. She is well known as an advocate of Palestinian human rights. Last December, she and a colleague from Trinity College, Dublin tried to attend a conference on migrants’ rights organised by the Israeli embassy and were refused entry at the door because both are associated with the IPSC. At that time, the same Israeli security man who questioned her yesterday on Northumberland Road attempted to search her bag, allegedly for weapons, in a disgraceful effort to embarrass her in front of other academics.

Referring to yesterday’s incident, Ms Hughes said: “The Israeli security man told me that he recognised me and had spoken to the Gardai about me to ensure that I would be arrested should I ever attempt to attend a conference on migrants' rights again. This, of course, is a nonsensical threat as I have attended many conferences on the subject and will continue to do so as part of my research. I assume that he meant 'Israeli embassy organised' conferences, but this is also ridiculous. I’ve never done anything that would constitute grounds for arrest and it’s outrageous that I should be threatened in this way by an Israeli security man on a public street in Ireland. Moreover, it is both shocking and disappointing that the Garda present allowed this to occur.”

Ms Hughes has now lodged a formal complaint with the Garda authorities about the behaviour of the Israeli security staff member.

She said: “This member of the Israeli embassy security team questioned me about my name and movements outside the grounds of his embassy. He had no right to do so and I believe that this constitutes harassment.”

Condemning the incident, Dr David Landy of the IPSC remarked, “The arrogance involved is breathtaking. Since when are the security personnel of foreign governments allowed to accost and harass Irish citizens on the streets of an Irish city? It’s an outrage.”

Dr Landy continued, “Of course, what happened chimes with the recent abuse of forged Irish passports by an Israeli hit team in Dubai. The harassment of Freda Hughes, a respected human rights activist, further shows the contempt that Israel has for the Irish people. This incident should be fully investigated and an apology should be demanded from the Israeli embassy.”


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author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Tue Mar 09, 2010 15:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If the harrassment can be pursued, then the Israeli embassy should hand over the perpetrator, though God knows they don't have a good record in handing over wrong-doers. The Department of Foregn Affairs must act on this, especially since we do a nice line in passports for Mossad these days - and that story is being permitted, you'll have noticed, to fade away.

author by Sceptic - None whatsoever .publication date Tue Mar 09, 2010 16:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dont worry , the power's that be will certainly find some excuse to put this little public display 'to bed' , they usually do .

author by Puzzledpublication date Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its a free country. The Israeli guy had a right to ask her name; she had a right to refuse. No criminal offence involved. End of.

author by Maura Harrington - S2S; Davitt Leaguepublication date Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

... on who's asking the question!

If you're an activist in north Mayo asking a skulking security operative for his name/ID No or what company he's working for, you're described by the courts and the press as 'secret police', 'vigilante' etc; if you're a nice man from Mossad that's ok - no courts, no O'Reilly press coverage.

The common denominator is compliant cops who tug the forelock to the Massa' of the moment.

author by solidarity seekerpublication date Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On the grounds of it being a free country and anyone can ask another person what their name is and that person has the right to either tell them or refuse I can see what you mean.
However the inference in the report is the Emmbassy staff member (With Garda support) was asking for the name in an official capacity.
Unfortunately I am not suprised the Garda went allong with this!!

author by Mark Cpublication date Wed Mar 10, 2010 14:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a disgraceful case of harassment as far as I can see.

Thanks to Freda and the IPSC for bringing it to light.

I certainly hope that the issue is brought to the attention of An Garda Siochána as a matter of urgency (it's often the only way to stop someone harassing you), especially given the use of Irish passports in another recent Israeli scandal (which, admittedly, had much more serious consequences).

Nobody should be harassed in this manner when going about their daily business or pursuing an interest (when that business and/or interest is of a totally innocent nature).

Keep us informed of how this progresses.

author by Fredpublication date Wed Mar 10, 2010 16:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Incidents like this make you wonder about the level of collaboration of the Irish security forces in the provision of passports.

author by disgracedministerpublication date Wed Mar 10, 2010 23:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Zion Evrony, has declined a request to attend a meeting of an Oireachtas committee to discuss the use of forged Irish passports by a team allegedly responsible for the assassination of a senior Hamas operative.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Thu Mar 11, 2010 01:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

He probably had a good laugh doing it, too. The Irish government needs to adopt a much tougher line, especially since the passports issue, but Evrony knows they won't dare risk an accusation of anti-Semitism flashed round the world. You surely cannot imagine that Israel is playing by what we would term decent rules! Meanwhile, some European countries have chickened out of looking too hard at the Mossad/passports issue. The Israelis kept our Minister for Foreign Affairs out of Gaza - where Israeli policy has created a Third World ghetto. Now even Biden has been insulted by Israel on his visit there: they announced, as he arrived, the creation of more illegal settlements. A point has been reached where Israeli policy makers - to the horror of many, many Israelis - have become high, drunk, drugged on arrogance and the pliability of Europe and the US. As for ourselves, well, the Israeli Ambassador clearly has no respect for our government, so why aren't we giving him his marching orders and seeing him to the 'plane?

author by Billpublication date Thu Mar 11, 2010 16:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Israelis are an arrogant bunch of thugs. I cannot believe that they have not been pulled up short by countries who care. If it was not for the 2god almighty" yanks, they would be nothing. Hopefully they will get their come-uppance soon.

author by Rex - nonepublication date Thu Mar 11, 2010 18:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I suggest anyone who suffers this intimidation and interference should keep a paper trail of incidents logged with Amnesty International and with a civil rights group or groups. Each incident would need to be supported with some additional evidence in case of going to litigation. At some stage, the added up incidents warrant a successful case against whoever is responsible, I would imagine.
Any advice from legal teams and civil rights groups?

author by Coilínpublication date Fri Mar 12, 2010 00:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If any stranger follows you on the street and / or addresses you in an unwelcome way, order him or her clearly but politely to stop harrassing you and to go away. If he persists after that, then it becomes difficult to argue that he had any right to do what he has done.

If there is a Garda present, ask him or her to please intervene to put a stop to the harrassment. Repeat your request several times and vary your wording if necessary.

Make a written note of the time and place, descriptions of the people involved, what exactly is said, the Garda's number, etc. as soon as you can. If you have a mobile phone, send these details by text to a friend, or call and report on what is happening as it happens.

If you can take photos and / or record the conversation on your mobile phone, do so.

With respect to the incident described above, complain to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. Submit your complaint within six months of the incident.

Keep the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) posted on developments, e.g. whether you are happy with the way GSOC handles your complaint.

author by Suepublication date Sat Mar 13, 2010 18:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My unsurprised sympathy to Freda for what happened outside the Israeli embassy. But I'd argue with the person who said it was sinister that a Garda was present and didnt interfere. What else would you expect? The gardai have no more backbone than their government when it comes to anything to do with Israel. Carrickmacross Town Council take a bow! Keeping a record of such incidents is a good idea. If the ipsc could designate a solicitor who'd be prepared to keep a file of these they could be very useful. In the Prisoner's Rights Organisation this was done and used effectively. We all need to Stare the Rat Down at every opportunity.

author by TD - Free Palestine Campaignpublication date Sat Mar 20, 2010 15:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Complaints to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, as Shell to Sea would avow, are a piss into the wind; they are drowned in the whitewash bucket and bounced back to the complainant reeking with the usual mantras, "insufficient evidence," "no grounds for complaint," etc. so, where's the remedy then.? from my experience, the most efficacious of all in this case would be a picket of the Israeli Embassy with hopefully the security fellow in question on duty where he could be asked to explain his intimidatory and harassing actions - for good measure, assuming his Pontius Pilate facilitator is based in Donnybrook Garda station, the personnel in that establishment should be informed, loud and clear, that their sworn constitutional duty is otherwise than that displayed outside the Israeli Embassy.?

Last summer in the run up to the Lisbon 2 Treaty, Garda from Donnybrook station arrested, Sean Clinton, an activist with the Irish Friends of Palestine Against Lisbon campaign group who at the time was erecting an IFPAL sign close to the Israeli Embassy, the reasons proffered would have the imprimatur of Alan Shatter: "It was an incitement to hate" (referring to the text on the sign that stated Israel killed over 300 Palestinian children in its Dec 2008-Jan 2009 attack on Gaza and, to boot, the sign was a "distraction to motorists" (other Lisbon Treaty signs were closer to the road). IFPAL's reaction back then was to muster the troops (happy to say, I was one of them) and challenge this overt suppression of free speech and democratic rights by erecting a similar sign on the same site in full view of a Guard outside Israeli Embassy, who after spending an inordinate amount of time on the phone with, no doubt, his superiors in Donnybrook station whined a little and then backed off.

Activists have to do it for themselves, In the case of Freda, a similar message has to be sent to the Israeli Embassy and the Garda.?

Sean Clinton
Sean Clinton

author by Jacqueline Fallonpublication date Sat Mar 20, 2010 21:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This harassment of an IPSC member campaigning for the rights of Palestinians is disgraceful. I wonder why Freda remained talking to him for so long, she could have just kept walking, surely, she must have known that this Israeli security agent (or whatever his title was) had no lawful right to interrogate her on Irish soil.

I would recommend a complaint be made for the record to all State authorities (otherwise they'll put whatever spin they like on it) - but, I have zero confidence that the Gardaí will entertain your complaint. Many years ago, as an ordinary peaceful member of the Irish public, I went to a commemoration for the 10 brave Irish hunger strikers (RIP) - and I was handed an abortion leaflet for my troubles by a young garda who approached me and sneered at me, and was also harassed by the Gardaí, therefore, I would not expect anything to come of any complaint sent to the Gardaí.

I would advise women in general for their own safety not to stop if any strange men approach them, to keep walking, and not to enter into any conversation whatsoever with them regardless of what i.d. they carry with them - they have no lawful reason to stop you, so why should you stop - women have ended up raped or dead in the past by men using such tactics, so an incidence likes this one is quite worrying.

author by mepublication date Sat Mar 20, 2010 21:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

you appear to have completely misunderstood the incident

the uniformed Garda stopped Freda, not the Israeli thug, he merely accompanied the uniformed Garda. Thus the outrage, since the Israeli Security thug had no right to even be there in the first place, let alone attempt to question her, and it appeared the Garda was taking orders from the Israeli thug, or at least acting so as to harass Freda for her previous political activities, as a favour to the Israeli security thug

Trying to turn this into a 'Woman fears rape' incident does a disservice to women in general and Freda in particular, IMHO

Please don't attempt to twist this into something it was not, just to make some unwarranted 'gender-wars' point, of your own choosing

author by Jacqueline Fallonpublication date Sun Mar 21, 2010 00:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I want to wish Freda Hughes well with her formal complaint re. the harassment she suffered at the hands of the Israeli Embassy security man - who had absolutely no right at all to question her outside the grounds of the Israeli Embassy, and also with the complaint about the Garda - who had no right to stop her and aid and abet in commiting the offence.

Best of luck to all out there campaigning for the rights of Palestinians and others worldwide.

p.s. This is my final comment.


author by Citizen Xpublication date Tue Mar 23, 2010 20:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While Israel continues to insist that “there is no proof” of its involvement in January’s assassination of a top Hamas military official, Britain has announced the pending expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over the killing. At least 12 forged British passports were used by a Mossad hit squad, whose members traveled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to assassinate Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, on January 19. Announcing the decision, British foreign secretary David Miliband said that the high quality of the forged passports made it almost certain that “a state intelligence service” was behind the operation, and that London had “compelling reasons” to suspect Israel. He told the British Parliament that “such misuse of British passports is intolerable” and that the fact that it was perpetrated by an ally of the UK added “insult to injury”. There are also reports that London is preparing to amend its official travel advisory for Israel, alerting British travelers to the possibility of identity theft by Israeli authorities in charge of inspecting travel documents. The BBC claims that an unnamed Israeli official has confirmed that there will not be a tit-for-tat expulsion of a British diplomat from Israel.

(Breaking news: UK expels Israeli diplomat over Dubai assassination - By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS -

3 Questions:
1. Is the Irish government preparing to expel an Israeli diplomat, and if not, why not?
2. Is the Irish government preparing to revise its travel advisory for visitors to Israel, and if not, why not?
3. What is the Irish Attorney General's stance on the legality and diplomatic protocol, of foreign security personnel of a country that has recently conducted identity theft of Irish Citizens, conducting ad hoc investigations of Irish Citizens on Irish soil? Does an individual street Garda e.g. have the right to delegate such powers to a such a foreign agent at whim? Is this even Constitutional?

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