‘I’m in Ramallah’: Israel bans Irish mayor over BDS, learns on Twitter he’s in Palestine
Dublin City Council voted this week to endorse the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, a global campaign to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land through the boycott of Israeli goods and services, the divestment of funds and, in theory, sanctions.
This prompted Israeli Interior Minister Arye Deri to announce he would bar Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha from entering Israel. Mac Donncha was planning to attend a conference in Ramallah in the West Bank, after being invited by the Palestinian Authority.
Not long after Deri made this threat, Mac Donncha tweeted he was already in Ramallah.
“The Lord Mayor travelled via Frankfurt and Tel Aviv Airports and encountered no difficulties during his journey.” a spokesperson told RT.
I can confirm I am in Ramallah and preparing for tomorrow's conference. https://t.co/b8LVLF193y— Lord Mayor of Dublin (@LordMayorDublin) April 10, 2018
It has since emerged that Mac Donncha was able to slip past Israel’s notoriously tight airport security thanks to a simple spelling mistake. According to Yedioth Aharonoth, authorities are looking for a way to expel him.
A source from the Population and Immigration Authority blamed the Ministry of Strategic Affairs for the mix up. The ministry has been dubbed Israel’s “anti-BDS start-up” due to its focus on countering BDS efforts.
"The details aren't received with the man's picture," the source said. "The Ministry of Strategic Affairs misspelled the man's name in the document it gave the border control, and that's how it was entered into the system. If someone is barred from entering, the system should produce a warning as soon as the name is entered, but when someone arrives with a passport bearing a different name, there's no way of knowing about the ban."
Deri said the incident is being looked into. "In any event, after the Dublin mayor leaves Israel and in light of his activity against the state, I have instructed authorities to hand him a letter banning him from entering Israeli territories in the future." he told Ynet. He went on to accuse the Dublin mayor of going to Ramallah to “continue to incite and harm Israel.”
“The city of Dublin adopted a shameful and ridiculous resolution, in the hateful spirit of Hamas and similar organizations,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “It is utterly unacceptable that the capital city of a country which is a member of the European Union adopts resolution that is entirely a boycott, hateful and racist. We expect a scathing Irish condemnation of this despicable resolution.”
The Dublin city council “ resolution “ to call for the expulsion of #Israel’s Ambassador is utter nonsense, worthy of dark dictatorships. This is lowbrow Antisemitism, not what you’d expect of the capital of an EU member state. @IsraelinIreland@IsraelMFAhttps://t.co/tM7QA4gg9P— Emmanuel Nahshon (@EmmanuelNahshon) April 10, 2018
Israel’s barring of those who protest against its policies also saw the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Movement placed on a list of 20 organizations banned from the country.