First Dublin, Now Gennevilliers: Israel Blocks Entry to French Mayor, Claiming He Supports BDS

Mayor Leclerc Patrice prevented from entering Israel from Jordan; Israeli officials note he sought to visit jailed Palestinian lawmaker Barghouti in the past

Israel prevented a French mayor from entering the country Monday due to his support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Leclerc Patrice, the mayor of the Paris suburb of Gennevilliers, was blocked from entering Israel from Jordan, said a statement from the Interior Ministry.

Officials said the decision was taken after Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan deemed Patrice a BDS supporter.  

The Communist Party of France politician arrived at the Allenby Crossing in the West Bank together with his wife. After he was turned away, his wife decided not to enter Israel either.

Gennevilliers Mayor Leclerc ‏Patrice
Twitter

A statement by the Strategic Affairs Ministry noted that in November Patrice sought to visit Palestinian lawmaker Marwan Barghouti, currently serving time in an Israeli jail after being found guilty of terror-related murder charges.

“The decision not to let him into the country was made for a series of reasons in connection to his activity in the BDS movement and his promotion of boycotts against Israel,” the statement said.

In January 2016, the ministry said, Leclerc was among the first signatories to a petition submitted to then-French President Francois Hollande, calling for a boycott of Israel. On his personal website there is a post for a pro-Palestinian event that took place in his city, which includes a quote from Barghouti. The ministry added that he was the sponsor of an event in the city in 2011 that promoted the BDS movement. 

"We will not allow those who act against Israel to enter and incite against the state," Interior Minister Ayre Dery said in a statement.

Erdan also commented on the matter, saying, "those who work to boycott Israel will not enter – especially when they are officials."

In January, Leclerc announced that the Gennevilliers city council would recognize what it called "the state of Palestine." The French daily Le Figaro reported that the action was symbolic and had no bearing on French policy.

The municipality walked away from the move a month later, under pressure from the regional government.

Last week, Israel tried to block Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha from entering the country. The Interior Ministry later admitted that he had come into Israel because the document barring him had a spelling error in his name.

As the lord mayor was leaving Israel, immigration officials asked him to sign a document vowing to inform them the next time he plans to visit the country, which he did.