Photo Credit: Shahee Ilyas / Wikimedia
Malé, capital of Maldives, 2006

The tiny southeast Asian Maldives Republic has discovered the hard way that Israel really isn’t the “apartheid state” as claimed by its fellow antisemites.

Earlier this month the government of Maldives — a string of atolls in the Indian Ocean — announced a ban on the entry of citizens with Israeli passports.


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In doing so, the popular tourist destination discovered that it had banned the entry of Israeli Arabs as well.

This past Thursday, Maldives Attorney General Ahmed Usham walked back his government’s ban, telling reporters at a news conference the move requires “additional consideration.”

While the government’s antisemitic stance has not changed, the blanket ban has inadvertently caused the Muslim-majority nation to also ban entry of many fellow Muslims.

“The biggest concern of some is that there are many Palestinians holding Israeli passports, millions of them, so what happens when we issue a blanket ban? These are things that need to be thought through,” Usham said.

There are no “Palestinians” in the State of Israel, of course; “Palestinian” Arabs by definition reside in the Palestinian Authority. But many antisemites insist on referring to Israel’s diverse Arab population as “Palestinians” rather than acknowledging their Israeli citizenship and integration within Israeli society.

A bill proposed by opposition Member of Parliament Meekail Ahmed Nasym amending The Maldives Immigration Act (1/2007) and including the anti-Israel ban had already been introduced earlier.

The bill adds a provision to Article 8 of The Maldives Immigration Act which governs ‘Persons who do not have a permit of entry’, seeking to bar any Israeli passport holder, or other foreign passport holder who also has an Israeli passport, from entering the Maldives.

Usham told reporters that the bill in its current form “might not be practical.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.