Israel Said It Barred Entry to Dublin’s Mayor – but He Got in Because They Misspelled His Name

Israel announced on Tuesday that it had barred Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha from entering the country – while he was already in the West Bank city of Ramallah and had flown to Tel Aviv. 

The announcement, by both the Interior and the Strategic Affairs Ministries, said that Mac Donncha would be denied entry to Israel over his ties to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

– Tweet from Dublin mayor: “I can confirm I am in Ramallah and preparing for tomorrow’s conference.”

I can confirm I am in Ramallah and preparing for tomorrow's conference.

— Lord Mayor of Dublin (@LordMayorDublin) April 10, 2018

– Tweet from Dublin mayor saying he arrived in Ramallah via Tel Aviv

No. Tel Aviv

— Lord Mayor of Dublin (@LordMayorDublin) April 10, 2018

The Strategic Affairs Ministry, in charge of fighting delegitimation of Israel, said in the statement that the reason for the decision was Mac Donncha’s ties with the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which promotes boycotts of Israeli companies and international companies who work in Israel.

According to the ministry, the mayor promoted the IPSC’s ideas through the city council and publicly expressed support for them. Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said that "the policy I set is clear: He who works consistently to boycott Israel will not enter here."

Minutes after Haaretz reported about the announcement, Mac Donncha tweeted that he was already in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

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The Interior Ministry confirmed to Haaretz that Mac Donncha had entered the country, initially saying that he must have arrived before the ministry’s instruction was delivered.

Later the Interior Ministry admitted that Mac Donncha was able to enter Israel due to the fact that his name was misspelled. A spokesman for Interior Ministry Arye Dery admitted that "we made a mistake at the border crossing."

A source familiar with the details blamed the Strategic Affairs Ministry, saying that the reason for the mishap was that it misspelled Mac Donncha’s name.

In January, Israel summoned the Irish ambassador in Israel for clarification and to express dissatisfaction in light of a proposed bill in Ireland’s national parliament calling for a boycott of Israeli settlements.

Ambassador Alison Kelly said then that her government opposed the legislation, which was subsequently postponed.