Israel Plays Blame Game Over Typo That Let Dublin Lord Mayor Barred Over BDS to Enter

Israel's Interior Ministry claims Mícheál Mac Donncha slipped through the cracks because the Strategic Affairs Ministry misspelled his name in the document recommending his ban

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Mícheál Mac Donncha.
Mícheál Mac Donncha.Credit: Twitter
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

Israel's interior and strategic affairs ministries traded blame Wednesday regarding the entry of Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha, after he was barred entrance into Israel in light of his ties to movements boycotting Israel.

The Interior Ministry claims it was provided with the wrong name, but the Strategic Affairs Ministry insists Mac Donncha's name was spelled correctly.

Interior Minister Arye Dery announced Wednesday that his office would investigate the circumstances of the incident.

"The probe is necessary in order to prevent such mishaps in the future and to glean lessons from what happened," said Dery on Wednesday morning. "With the lord mayor of Dublin's departure from the country, and in light of his activity against Israel, I've instructed that a letter be delivered to him which would forbid future entry into Israeli territory."

On Tuesday, both the interior and strategic affairs ministries released statements saying they would deny Mac Donncha entry into Israel because of his connection with the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which promotes boycotts of Israeli companies and international companies who work in Israel. 

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

The Interior Ministry later admitted Mac Donncha was able to enter Israel due to the fact his name was misspelled in the alerts given to authorities.

A source familiar with the details blamed the Strategic Affairs Ministry, saying it misspelled Mac Donncha's name.

Image allegedly provided by the Strategic Affairs MinistryCredit:

In a statement Wednesday, the Strategic Affairs Ministry said it "wished to clarify that it transferred to the immigration authority, which supervises border crossings, the full and correct name of Dublin's mayor as it appears on his official site."

A WhatsApp image was enclosed with a spelling that includes Mac Donncha's lord mayoral title in Irish Gaelic, Ardmhéara, as part of his name.

A document provided to Haaretz by the Strategic Affairs Ministry recommending Mac Donncha's ban includes both the correct and incorrect spelling of his name.

The strategic affairs minister's spokesperson released another statement Wednesday, saying the Strategic Affairs Ministry "released its statement regarding Mac Donncha's ban after it saw the Interior Ministry released one."

The statement clarified that it was assumed, since the Interior Ministry is in charge of the border crossings via the immigration authority, that Mac Donncha would be denied entry.

"Apparently there was a mishap and he's now in Ramallah," the statement concluded.

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