‘What a disgrace’: Netanyahu slams ‘hypocrisy and anti-Semitism’ of Ireland’s boycott bill

After lawmakers brought Ireland one step closer to becoming the first E.U. country to ban all imports from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Netanyahu blasted the “hypocrisy and anti-Semitism” of the move.

By JNS.org and World Israel News Staff

“Instead of Ireland condemning Syria for slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians, Turkey for the occupation of northern Cyprus and the terrorist organizations for murdering thousands of Israelis, it attacks Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. What a disgrace,” commented Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after lawmakers in the Republic of Ireland on Thursday voted in favor of the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018.

The bill would prevent Ireland from importing products from any business holders or companies in eastern Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, or Gaza—all of which are deemed to be “illegally occupied” by Israelis. The bill would also impose jail time of up to five years and considerable fines on Irish nationals who import or sell products from the aforementioned areas. The bill has additional steps to pass before it becomes law and the current Irish government is officialy opposed to the legislation.

“Israel is outraged over the legislation against it in the Dail [Lower House of the Irish Parliament], which is indicative of hypocrisy and anti-Semitism,” Netanyahu added. “The Irish Ambassador will be summoned [Friday] to the Foreign Ministry for a reprimand.”

But as Ireland debates becoming the first European Union country to ban all imports from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Ireland’s Ryanair airlines declared that it was looking into expanding its operations in the Jewish state.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, who happens to be on a tour of Israel this week, called Israel “one of the most refreshing destinations,” and said “we can bring millions more to Israel; we will grow as fast as the authorities allow us to.”

O’Leary arrived in Israel on Tuesday, and met with representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and the Israel Airports Authority.

Ryanair recently announced new flights from Tel Aviv to Athens, Sofia, and Thessaloniki, and is expected to operate 28 weekly flights to Israel from 12 different destinations.

Israeli tourism has boomed over the past year, with a 200 percent increase in the number of tourists from European destinations over the previous year.