Israeli embassy removes Christmas comment from Facebook

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A Facebook comment posted on the Israel embassy Facebook page in Ireland was removed from the social network platform—along with the page, the New York Times blog The Lede has reported on Monday.

A few hours after it was posted on the “Israel in Ireland” Facebook page, the comment was deleted and replaced by an apology note addressed “to anyone who may have been offended,” the report stated.

“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... Thanks for sharing Daniel…” the comment had said.

Later on Monday, reporters started scrutinizing the Facebook page, only to find the whole page missing.

“People who post on the embassy Facebook page include embassy staff and also people based in Israel itself,” said Derek O’Flynn, a press officer for the embassy in Dublin was quoted as saying.

“We don’t know who actually made the original post. All I know is that when it was brought to our attention, we here in the embassy deleted it immediately and posted the new message in its place,” he added.

However, O’Flynn refused to comment if the officials in Israel with access to the said Israeli Facebook account in Ireland are employees of the ministry of foreign affairs or if they are from another government agency that handles social media.

“Removing the post is of course the right thing to do, and as far as we are concerned that is the end of the story,” said spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry Yigal Palmor, who was quoted by Haaretz’ correspondent Barak Ravid.

The Lede also reported that the Israeli embassy Facebook page described Ireland as “naïve” for supporting the Palestinian U.N. bid last month.

Ravid said that the Facebook comment was the most recent in a series of “embarrassing provocations by Israel’s envoys at the mission, who try to think creatively when it comes to public relations.”

Palestinian activists reacted to the said comment before it was deleted from Facebook saying that Christmas is freely celebrated in Bethlehem.

The Lede report also added that Yousef Munayyer, the director of The Palestine Center in Washington, posted on Twitter a message with video of celebrations in Bethlehem on Saturday, following the lighting of the Christmas tree in Manger Square, in response to the Israeli embassy Facebook post.

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