Irish links with Israeli military and security firms revealed

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Irish academic researchers collaborated in EU-funded projects with Israeli counterparts who make drones, develop high-tech weapons and engage in “counter-terror” activities with the Mossad (Israel’s spy organisation), it was revealed today.

In all,  Irish universities have collaborated with Israel in 257 projects to date, seven of them listed as “security” and  13 as “aerospace”. These EU research programmes are administered by Irish Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

The information on Irish-Israeli research links was gathered through the examination of publicly available EU documents by members of Academics for Palestine (AfP), a new organisation launched today in Dublin.

The group supports an academic boycott against Israel. Its chair, Jim Roche, said the daily discrimination inflicted on Palestinian academics was enough to justify such a boycott, but added: “The revelations of Irish academia’s collaboration with companies closely linked to Israel’s military-industrial complex are truly shocking.

“What is surprising is that a non-European country, Israel, actually receives more research and development funding from the EU than many European countries do,” Roche said today. “It is not just Israeli universities that avail of this funding, but Israeli security and military companies – and they are often the lead partner in a research consortium.”

“This is, by not very roundabout means, the EU funding the Israeli occupation apparatus,” Dr Andy Storey, UCD lecturer in politics and international relations, said at today’s launch.

Researchers at the University of Limerick collaborated with an Israeli security company, Athena GS3-Security Implementations Ltd, on an EU-funded programme worth almost €4 million from April 2009 to March 2011. (The project researched digital support systems for first responders.) Athena, on its website, claims to be a world leading counter-terror advisory group with indigenous expertise from the Mossad and other elite Israeli counter terrorist units.

UL also partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). IAI are key players in the development of security and surveillance for Israel’s separation wall, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

Other academics, at Trinity College Dublin, have worked with Israeli drone manufacturers Elbit Security Systems and two other Israeli firms in an airport security project, still ongoing, and on a separate project with Israel’s notorious International Security and Counter-Terrorism Academy.

Researchers at UCC actually coordinated a recently completed counter-terrorism project to improve the detection of traces of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) alongside Israel’s major weapons developer, Technion.

“Some Irish universities are contributing to the denial of Palestinian human rights and academic freedom by collaborating with these Israeli security companies under the cloak of EU-funded FP7 and Horizon 2020 programmes paid for by European, including Irish, taxpayers,” Roche said.

Almost 140 Irish academics have signed a pledge, organised by AFP, to boycott such collaboration with Israeli institutions until Palestinian rights are respected.

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