The Israeli embassy in Dublin has apologised and taken down a post on its Facebook page that said that if Mary and Jesus were alive today they would “probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians”.
The post, which was made on the Israel in Ireland Facebook page at about lunchtime yesterday, showed a picture of Mary and Jesus, accompanied by the comment: “A thought for Christmas . . . If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians. Just a thought . . .”
By 3pm it had 20 “Likes”, though several comments expressed distaste for the post.
Among them was one saying: “Have you no regard for honesty whatsoever? If Jesus Mary were alive today, they would be protesting against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, along with all the Palestinian Christians currently living in Bethlehem.”
The post was reported on the major Israeli news site Haaretz as well as on the Washington Post site yesterday.
When contacted, a spokesman for the embassy confirmed the page was an official embassy site. Asked who posted to it he said: “Different members of staff at the embassy post to it.”
He asked if The Irish Times was going to report on the message and was told it was a possibility.
The post was removed about 30 minutes later and replaced with the following statement: “To whom it may concern, an image of Jesus and Mary with a derogatory comment about Palestinians was posted without the consent of the administrator of the Facebook page. We have removed the post in question immediately. Apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Merry Christmas!”
A spokeswoman for the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign described the original post as “outrageous and extremely cynical, but not surprising”.
“The fact that it was published on a site representing the Israeli state is particularly appalling. It is indicative of the racism that underpins the whole Zionist project.”
Richard Boyd Barrett, TD and chair of the Irish Anti-War Movement, described the post as further evidence that “we should not treat Israel as a normal state. It is dysfunctional.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment.