London mayor’s West Bank events cancelled over criticism of BDS

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — London Mayor Boris Johnson had most of his planned meetings with Palestinian officials cancelled due to security concerns stemming from his criticism of boycotts of Israel.

The events were scheduled to be held in the West Bank on Wednesday.

After Johnson expressed disapproval of the refusal of the West Bank-based Palestine Business Women’s Forum to allow London Jewish Chronicle reporter Noga Tarnopolsky to join their meeting with the mayor, the meeting was cancelled. Also cancelled was a meeting with a Palestinian youth group, which cancelled its invitation to Johnson over his remarks against the BDS movement.

Also on Wednesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah banned all journalists from covering their planned meeting.

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Johnson, whose visit to Israel began on Monday, called boycotting Israel “foolish.” He called the BDS campaign “completely crazy” and called its leaders in Britai “ridiculous snaggle-toothed, corduroy-wearing, lefty academics.”

Also on Wednesday, during a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Johnson told Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, that there are Jews in his family on his maternal side, according to a statement from Rabinowitz’ office. Johnson is Anglican.

“It is a great privilege to come to this Wall for the first time in my life and I join the prayers for peace in Jerusalem,” he wrote in the visitors’ book.

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