Former Irish president Mary Robinson accused "certain elements" of the Jewish community of bullying after a number of pro-Israel lobby groups voiced concerns over her being awarded the top US civilian honour.
US President Barack Obama has come under fire from a number of pro-Israeli online sources for honouring Ms Robinson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
But Ms Robinson hit back yesterday at what she described as allegations "totally without foundation" of her condoning anti-Semitic behaviour at the Durban World Conference Against Racism in 2001.
"It's totally without foundation but when stuff is out on the internet, I'm not quite sure what you can do," Ms Robinson told RTE Radio One yesterday.
Ms Robinson insisted that she never supported any anti-Semitism and cited her decision at the conference to reject a civil society document which she deemed racist.
"There's a lot of bullying by certain elements of the Jewish community. They bully people who try to address the severe situation in Gaza and the West Bank. Archbishop Desmond Tutu gets the same criticism."
Ms Robinson said she was "very honoured" to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.