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Israeli, Russian ambassadors not invited to FF Ard Fheis

Fianna Fáil will not invite the Israeli or Russian ambassador to its Ard Fheis this weekend.

In a statement posted on social media, the party said that it would “not be appropriate given the war on the people of Gaza and the war on Ukraine”.

It added that while the party has “continuously condemned Hamas and its attack on the Israeli people on October 7”, it believed the response from Israel was “completely disproportionate”.

Fianna Fáil said that the “fact that aid is being held back while children and others die from famine cannot and will not be condoned”.

The party had invited the Israeli Ambassador, Dana Erlich, to its Ard Fheis last November.

Fianna Fáil Minister of State Seán Fleming said the party was not inviting the Israeli or Russian ambassador because both governments are carrying out atrocities against neighbouring peoples.

“Six months have now gone [by] and we truly believe an ongoing response from Israel is completely disproportionate and the fact that aid is being held back while children and others die from famine … so we are not inviting the Israeli ambassador,” Mr Fleming said.

“And we are not inviting the Russian ambassador, because of the Ukraine situation, to our Ard Fheis this weekend,” he added.

Mr Fleming also said that he views the actions of Israel and Russia through the same lens.

“Both of them are carrying out terrible atrocities in adjoining areas that they should not be doing. A lot of innocent lives have been lost,” he said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime Mr Fleming added: “This has been going on long before 7 October. I just mentioned the illegal settlements in Palestine, that’s been going on for years upon years upon years.

“Israel would like people to think nothing had ever happened before this. 7 October is totally unjustified but it’s in the context of a historic situation.

“None of what happened on 7 October should’ve happened, those killings were wrong, and we also believe taking the hostages were wrong and we’ve condemned that absolutely on multiple occasions but it’s a longer-term situation that didn’t start six months ago,” he said.

Ahead of the party’s Ard Fheis Mr Fleming outlined that the focus would be on new candidates for both the European and local elections, as well as policy documents that are being finalised ahead of the campaigns.

“Fianna Fáil is a good steady hand in Government,” he said, adding that most Irish people want stability, rather than instability.

Fianna Fáil’s decision comes as Taoiseach Simon Harris has reiterated the call for a review of EU-Israel ties during his first meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels.

His predecessor Leo Varadkar had sent Ms von der Leyen a joint letter with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in February, calling on the Commission to review the EU-Israel Association Agreement on the basis that Israel’s war in Gaza was allegedly breaching the accord’s human rights clause.

However, according to a Commission source, the review has not yet happened, and that there was no date for any such review to get under way.

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