Soc Dems candidate’s deselection dubbed ‘act of antisemitism’

Soc Dems candidate’s deselection dubbed ‘act of antisemitism’ Orli Degani. Photo: X

The Social Democrats’ decision to deselect a Jewish candidate for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown has been described as “an unprecedented act of antisemitism” by the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland (JRC).

Orli Degani, a Jewish woman selected by the Social Democrats in July 2023 as the candidate for the local electoral area was deselected last month.

Maurice Cohen, Chairperson of the JRC said the party’s actions are “an unprecedented act of antisemitism which totally undermines the credibility of the party’s espoused values”.

In a statement on May 1, Ms Degani said it was an honour to be chosen as it meant she could work with causes she “believe passionately in, from the rights of disabled citizens of this country, to tackling the prolonged homelessness and poverty crises on our streets”.

Ms Degani said that her deselection happened “for reasons which are an affront to the values of equality and inclusivity” she came to know since she immigrated to Ireland with her family.

She claimed the reason for her deselection was raising the growing concern of the local Jewish community of feeling “unwelcome and unsafe” in Ireland.

Mr Cohen said that the Social Democrats espouse the values of equality, democracy and progress, and that would represent the embrace of inclusivity.

“We would have understood them to embrace internal party discussion on issues of sensitivity and public concern and not result in an issue so raised resulting in the exclusion from the party’s local elections ticket of a selected election candidate,” said Mr Cohen.

Ms Degani, who will continue as an independent, said: “The issues I have championed on the campaign trail have not gone away, and I remain committed to being a voice for the people of Dún Laoghaire.

“It saddens me greatly that taking a stand about local people’s right to be included and welcomed in our community has spiralled to me being deselected by the Social Democrats,” said Ms Degani.