Israel Bans Controversial UN Official From Country Over 'Anti-Semitic' Comments

United Nations special rapporteur Francesca Albanese (YouTube)
February 12, 2024

Israel's government banned a controversial United Nations official Monday after she made statements the Jewish state decried as anti-Semitic.

The Israeli foreign and interior ministries prohibited U.N. special rapporteur for the Palestinian territories Francesca Albanese from entering the country after she said that victims of Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attacks were killed "in response to Israel's occupation." Foreign Minister Israel Katz called on the international body to denounce her "anti-Semitic statements" and fire her if it hopes to return to being "relevant."

Albanese on Saturday took issue with French president Emmanuel Macron's description of the attacks as "the greatest anti-Semitic massacre of our century."

"The 'greatest anti-Semitic massacre of our century'? No, Mr. @EmmanuelMacron," Albanese said on X. "The victims of 10/7 were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel's oppression. France & the international community did nothing to prevent it. My respects to the victims."

Hours later, Albanese clarified her post, expressing her disappointment that users interpreted her words as a justification of the attacks.

"Disappointed that some read my tweet as 'justifying' the Hamas crimes of 10/7, which I have strongly condemned several times," Albanese wrote in another post. "I reject all racism, including anti-Semitism, a global threat. But explaining these crimes as anti-Semitism obscures their true cause."

Albanese on Monday addressed the ban in yet another X post.

"BREAKING: Israel's 'denying me entry' is not news: Israel has denied entry to ALL Special Rapporteurs/oPt since 2008! This must not become a distraction from Israel's atrocities in Gaza, which are taking a new level of horror with the bombing of people in 'safe areas' in #Rafah," Albanese said, referencing expected Israeli military operations in southern Gaza.

The ban came the same day that a department in Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government planned to host Albanese for an event to discuss Israel's war in Gaza, the Daily Wire reported.

The Washington Free Beacon has reported on Albanese's history of controversial comments, which have included liking social media posts that complained of a "Jewish billionaire class" in December. A month earlier, Albanese claimed that Hamas is "entitled to embrace resistance" and that Israel has no legal right to self-defense under international law.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made remarks similar to Albanese's Saturday comments in late October, saying Hamas's attacks "did not happen in a vacuum," as Palestinians have been "subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation" and have seen their land "steadily devoured by settlements."