Dublin council calls to expel Israeli ambassador, endorse BDS
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Israel: 'This is low-brow anti-Semitism'

Dublin council calls to expel Israeli ambassador, endorse BDS

In retaliation, Israel's interior minister instructs immigration officers to prevent mayor from entering Israel en route to pro-Palestinian conference in Ramallah

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

The Palestinian flag flies over Dublin's City Hall on May 9, 2017 following a vote by the city council. (Michael Riordan/Times of Israel)
The Palestinian flag flies over Dublin's City Hall on May 9, 2017 following a vote by the city council. (Michael Riordan/Times of Israel)

Dublin’s city council this week passed two resolutions endorsing the anti-Israel boycott movement and calling on the national government to expel the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.

As a result of those votes, Interior Minister Arye Deri said Tuesday that he would bar the city’s first Lord Mayor, Mícheál Mac Donncha, from entering Israel. Mac Donncha, a member of the leftists Sinn Féin party, was planning to attend a conference on the status of Jerusalem in Ramallah, at the invitation of the Palestinian Authority.

One of the two resolutions passed by the Dublin City Councillors read: “Since its violent establishment in 1948 through the ethnic cleansing of more than half of the indigenous people of Palestine, the state of Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights and has refused to comply with international law.”

The resolution, proposed by leftist Councillor John Lyons, goes on to level various accusations against Israel before stating that “this City Council fully supports and endorses the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for freedom, equality, and justice.”

Mícheál Mac Donncha (Sinn Féin, via Flickr/Wikipedia)

The text further states that Dublin will cut all business ties with Hewlett-Packard, arguing that the technology giant ”provides and operates much of the technology infrastructure that Israel uses to maintain its system of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people.”

Another resolution, proposed by Mac Donncha, called on the national government to expel Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, Ze’ev Boker.

The spokesperson of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Emmanuel Nahshon, denounced the resolution “as utter nonsense” that is “worthy of dark dictatorships.”

“This is lowbrow anti-Semitism, not what you’d expect of the capital of an EU member state,” he fumed on Twitter.

Some members of Dublin’s city council were critical of the motions as well.

“We have this focus on saving the world. We are elected to save Dublin,” said Labour’s Mary Freehill.

Anne Feeney, from the center-right Fine Gael party, dismissed the effort to kick out Israel’s ambassador as “nonsense.”

Mac Donncha was due in Ramallah this week, where he said he wanted to “acknowledge that East Jerusalem is the designated capital of Palestine under the two-state solution, recognized by the international community, but forcibly prevented from being implemented by successive Israeli governments.”

He also traveled to the region to “express solidarity with the people of Palestine who are suffering violence from Israeli forces, as witnessed in Gaza most recently with the shooting down of protesters,” he told reporters.

Explaining his decision not to let Mac Donncha into Israel, Deri cited his longstanding pro-Palestinian activism. “He acted in all possible ways against Israel,” he said, according to Yedioth Aharonoth.

In late January, the Irish Senate debated but eventually postponed voting on a bill that would have criminalized the import and sale of settlements goods.

The government opposed the passing of the the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018, but vowed to revisit and possibly support it before the parliament’s summer break, in the event there is no significant progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

It is currently unclear if and when the bill will again be brought to a vote.

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