Belfast City Council backs expulsion of "Israeli ambassadors"

Motion condemned by Progressive Unionist Party councillor as anti-Semitic.

Dan Verbin ,

Dublin, Ireland
Dublin, Ireland

Belfast City Council has passed a motion calling upon the Northern Irish and UK governments to expel “Israeli ambassadors” from the country.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that during a meeting on Tuesday evening, the council voted in favour of a motion requiring the local government to “write to the Irish Government and the UK Government, urging them to expel from office Israeli ambassadors, with immediate effect.”

The motion was put forward by Councillor Fiona Ferguson, a member of the Trotskyist People Before Profit Alliance party. It was supported by Sinn Fein, the Green Party and the Social Democratic Labour Party.

At the meeting Ferguson called the explosion a “first step – a preliminary step – to greater action.”

“We can set and lead an example for countries in this region of the world… most importantly it answers the call from Palestinians across the world who have asked for ambassadors to be expelled,” she said.

Before the vote, council heard from an anti-Zionist Jew and a Palestinian living in Belfast in favor of the motion.

Councillor John Kyle, of the Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, who voted against the motion, called it anti-Semitism. “Israel is confronted by organizations which do not recognize its right to exist… and this is anti-Semitism.”

He also said that “the Jews are the original indigenous inhabitants of Palestine and as such have the right to exist as a nation state."

Steven Jaffe, co-chair of Northern Ireland Friends of Israel, told the Jewish Chronicle that the vote didn’t surprise him.

“While some parties speak about their advocacy for a two-state solution, they are willing to endorse motions that clearly intend on the destruction of Israel and give succour to Hamas,” he said.