Anti-semitic attacks disgraceful, says Minister

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern blasted as reprehensible a spate of anti-Semitic attacks on a Dublin museum as he met senior members of the Jewish Community today.

Raphael Siev, curator of the Irish Jewish Museum, said the attacks on synagogues and the museum had caused upset throughout the 1,800 strong community in the capital.

Mr Ahern said: “They are reprehensible and I am here to show support and solidarity to the Jewish community and to the people who have this fantastic museum.”

Ahead of a visit to the Middle East, he added: “The Government would always criticise and be vehemently against any racism of any form, I think it is unfortunate that one or two individuals would do this and it doesn’t do any justice to the tremendous community that the Jewish Community have here.”

The curator and the Chief Rabbi Dr Yaakov Pearlman bought the minister outside the museum, where they pointed out the faint traces of Swastikas and the damage to the old-red bricks from removing the black paint.

Mr Siev, who is a former legal advisor to the Foreign Affairs Department, said the attacks, which included Swastikas daubed on brickwork and broken windows, first began last November.

The Government of Israel had also raised concerns with the Irish Government after it became aware of the attacks earlier this year.

Gardai also confirmed the former residence of the first chief rabbi, graves at the Jewish cemetery in Dolphin’s Barn, a Jewish old people’s home and the synagogue in Terenure were subject to attacks.

The volunteer-run museum, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, was subject to at least eight attacks.

“The community has been in deep shock and trauma,” he said. “This has come completely out of the blue, and only commenced last November and has occurred over the last six months.”

Mr Siev added: “One doesn’t know what is going to happen, when you are subject to a mystery situation like this, it could increase in some way or manifest itself in some other form.”

The curator said that on the whole he was satisfied there were no Anti-Semitic feelings in Ireland.

“The tremendous numbers of letters, telephone calls and other communications which I have received over the last few months, indicates very strongly that the vast majority of the Irish people condemn this sort of misconduct,” he said.

Gardai said a man had been charged with causing criminal damage to a Jewish building in Dublin.

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