We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Jonathan Pollard on his release from prison in 2015. Alamy Stock Photo

'The Irish deserve it': Israeli ex-spy turned election candidate wants Gazans 'moved' to Ireland

Jonathan Pollard claimed that Israel should “move” Arab people in Gaza to Ireland, due to the support for the Palestinian cause here.

A FORMER SPY for Israel turned prospective far-right election candidate has claimed Israel should “move” Arab people in Gaza to Ireland, due to the support for the Palestinian cause here.

Jonathan Pollard, who was born in America and served almost 30 years in an American jail for spying for Israel, said that Israel must annex Gaza if it wants people to be able to return to homes they fled after the 7 October surprise attack by Hamas.

The suggestion has been condemned as “ethnic cleansing” by Dublin TD Richard Boyd Barrett, whose own longstanding support for Palestine was cited by Pollard in Israeli media as reason to force people from their homeland and towards Irish shores.

The People Before Profit–Solidarity deputy added: “If the movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people in Ireland is annoying far-right fanatics like this Mr Pollard, then it means we’re doing something right.”

Boyd Barrett said Pollard’s comments showed that Ireland’s solidarity with Palestine was being noticed in Israel.

an-israeli-woman-sits-next-to-a-painted-closed-shutters-of-a-shop-depicting-convicted-spy-for-israel-jonathan-pollard-in-mahane-or-machane-yehuda-market-often-referred-to-as-the-shuk-an-open-air-m An Israeli woman sits next to a mural depicting convicted spy Jonathan Pollard in West Jerusalem. The American is considered a local celebrity in the Middle East state and is eyeing a run for parliament. (Photo from 2021) Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post over the weekend, Pollard said that Israel will need to annex Gaza if it wants residents to return to the South.

He referenced Boyd Barrett directly in the interview, claiming that the TD’s wearing of the keffiyeh scarf was an indicator of Ireland’s support for Palestine.

“I say we move the resident Arab population out [of Gaza],” Pollard said.

I don’t care where they go. My preference is for Ireland. I think the Irish deserve it. Irish MP Richard Boyd Barrett has even donned a keffiyeh.

Born in Texas, the 69 year old worked as an intelligence analyst for the American government but was jailed in 1987 for spying for Israel.

He returned to Israel four years ago after his parole terms expired and his sentence had been served.

Now dubbed a local celebrity by some Israeli media, Pollard is tipped to standi for Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Otzmah Yehudit party. According to liberal Israeli newspaper Haaertz, the party is on the far-right of the country’s politics.

Ben-Gvir is a part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet in which he serves as Minister of National Security – the role is analogous to Ireland’s justice brief and involves responsibility for policing.

Reacting to Pollard’s comments, Boyd Barrett claimed to The Journal that the convicted spy’s links to a key party in the Israeli government is a good indicator for the leadership’s thinking.

richard-boyd-barrett-speaks-during-the-demonstration-due-to-the-escalation-in-tension-and-violence-in-jerusalem-a-number-of-protests-in-solidarity-with-palestine-took-place-in-dublin-the-first-of-wh Richard Boyd Barrett speaking during a 2021 demonstration in solidarity with Palestine, wearing a scarf with a keffiyeh pattern and the Palestinian colours. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

“Mr Pollard’s comments expose the real agenda of the Israeli regime. [His party] say the things which other Israeli politician refuse to admit,” he said.

“[Protests here have] put pressure on our government which in turn has put pressure on the European Union and those who have armed and supported Israel. It shows that protesting and campaigning in support of the Palestinian people does matter,” Boyd Barrett said.

“It means the protests in this country are having an impact and are worrying the defenders of Israeli apartheid and genocide.”

Israel has denied accusations from South Africa in the International Court of Justice that its actions since 7 October are “genocidal in character” and “intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part” of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.

Election tilt

According to the Jerusalem Post, Pollard has been eying a tilt at the country’s parliament, the Knesset, since his return to Israel.

He had spent almost 30 years in prison in the US after he was found guilty of spying for Israel against America. Pollard was released in 2015 and was under house arrest in New York from then until 2020.

Netanyahu was reportedly waiting on the airport tarmac for the ex-spy when he arrived in Israel in 2020.

He almost went forward at the last election in 2022 but decided against standing due to the recent death of his wife.

Prior to that, Netanyahu had offered Pollard a role to help return him to government but Pollard decided against getting involved then too.