Irish mayor denied entry to Israel over BDS links
Israel announced on Tuesday that Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha had been barred from entering Israel over his ties to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement which calls for international against Tel Aviv's occupation of Palestinian territories.
The announcement made by both the interior and the strategic affairs ministries came at a time while Mac Donncha was already in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank.
Gilad Erdan, Strategic Affairs Minister said, "the policy I set is clear: He who works consistently to boycott Israel will not enter here."
The BDS - Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions - movement was founded in 2005 with aim of ending Israel's occupation of the West Bank.
Shortly after Haaretz reported the announcement, Mac Donncha posted on Twitter that he was already in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
An embarrassed interior ministry at first claimed that Mac Donncha had entered before instructions were received.
Later they admitted that the entry happened due to a "mistake at the border crossing" where his name was misspelled.
In March, Israel passed legislation banning the entry of anyone who supports the boycott due to Israel's settlements in the occupied territories, which are illegal under international law.
The legislation denies permits and residency visas to anyone who has publicly called for a boycott of the country.
Rights groups criticised the law as "thought control" and noted that Israel also controls who enters the Palestinian territories, apart from one border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
Israel accuses the boycott movement of being anti-Semitism - a claim activists deny, saying they only want to see an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian land.