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Boris attacks Palestinian ban on JC journalist

    JC correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky
    JC correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky

    A furore has erupted after Noga Tarnopolsky, a correspondent covering Boris Johnson's visit to Israel and Palestine for the JC, was told by the Palestine Business Women's Forum she was banned from attending a meeting with the London mayor because she is Israeli.

    Mr Johnson’s spokesman, Will Walden, said both he and the mayor were "exasperated" by the demand and felt they had made their disapproval clear to the Palestinian group.

    Mr Johnson told Ms Tarnopolsky: "It's very sad that you can't come in. Obviously if we get in I will be raising it."

    The ban was threatening to overshadow Mr Johnson's visit to the Palestinian territories on Wednesday.

    Tim Shipman, the political editor of the Sunday Times, who is also on the trip, said: "As far as I'm concerned, journalists are citizens of the world and to prevent any reporter from doing their job in an impartial and independent fashion, whatever their nationality, is absurd."

    In another development, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told Mr Johnson that all journalists were banned from covering the meeting planned between the two leaders today.

    Mr Johnson has faced questions about BDS - the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel - at each of his encounters with the Israeli public.

    One woman, who moved to Israel from London and attended the inaugural Winston Churchill address delivered by Mr Johnson in Jerusalem, expressed her "huge gratitude" to the mayor for coming to Israel when its citizens feel so beleaguered.

    Mr Johnson dismissed BDS-backers in the UK as “ridiculous snaggle-toothed, corduroy-wearing, lefty academics".

    Stephen Pollard, editor of the JC, said: “This is the reality of BDS. Forget the lies about it targeting institutions rather than people. As this outrageous ban on a journalist for no reason other than her nationality shows, it is about singling out individual Israelis and telling them that they are banned as people.”

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