Israeli Ambassador Warns Ireland’s Recognition of Palestinian State Jeopardizes Tech Investment and Bilateral Ties

The statehood recognition, set to be formalized on Tuesday by Ireland along with Spain and Norway, has been denounced by Israel as a "reward for terrorism."

Israel’s ambassador to Dublin, Dana Erlich, warned on Monday that a crisis in bilateral ties over Ireland’s plan to recognize a Palestinian state sends the wrong message about Ireland as a tech hub and is worrying Israeli investors in the Irish IT services sector.

Speaking in Jerusalem after being recalled in protest, Erlich expressed hope of returning to Ireland, though she viewed its government as siding with the Palestinians against Israel.

The statehood recognition, set to be formalized on Tuesday by Ireland along with Spain and Norway, has been denounced by Israel as a “reward for terrorism.”

Israel is currently engaged in a devastating Gaza war and fighting on other fronts in response to the October 7 cross-border attack by Hamas, the dominant Palestinian Islamist faction.

Erlich stated that all aspects of Israeli-Irish ties were under review but did not predict further action by her government.

“Ireland is not neutral or an honest broker in this case, because they are very supportive of the Palestinians.

“But what we are saying is: This is not the time for such announcement on recognition,” Erlich told Reuters.

The Irish government argues that recognizing Palestinian statehood could benefit Israel by reviving stalled peace efforts.

Despite the official stance, Erlich believes many Irish sympathize with Israel privately.

“I think there is a lot of potential in our bilateral relations, whether it’s cybersecurity, healthcare, or climate change. I hope to be given that opportunity to continue that,” she said.

However, a public mood of hostility, which some Jews perceive as antisemitic, is causing Israelis to question their presence in Ireland.

This threatens the tech services sector that forms a significant part of the $5 billion annual trade between the countries.

“We are getting more and more phone calls and conversations from concerned people,” Erlich noted, mentioning Israelis who invest or work in Ireland.

Erlich emphasized that the negative sentiment could harm Ireland’s reputation as a tech hub.

“I don’t think this is the message that Ireland wants to send to the world,” she said.

The business connection has already been impacted, with Israel’s national carrier, El Al, announcing on February 5 that it would not renew direct flights to Dublin.

The Irish government has resisted calls for sanctions or an economic boycott on Israel.

However, on April 5, Ireland announced that its 15-billion-euro sovereign investment fund would divest from six Israeli companies over their activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Gaza war began shortly after Erlich arrived in Dublin, plunging her into crisis-management and outreach.

“There are many similarities between Ireland and Israel that I’m curious to learn more about,” Erlich said. “But right now, we need to address our concerns.”