Omar Barghouti, the founder of the anti-Israel BDS movement, should no longer be permitted to reside in Israel, MK Nava Boker (Likud) wrote to Interior Minister Arye Deri Thursday.
“Barghouti spends most of his time lecturing around the world and calling to isolate Israel and boycott it,” Boker wrote. “I ask you to use your authority to revoke Mr. Barghouti’s permanent residence status.”
The Interior Ministry has, in recent months, revoked citizenship, and permanent residence status from noncitizens, who helped terrorists attack.
Barghouti, who was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and married an Israeli-Arab woman, gaining permanent residence status, is studying at Tel Aviv University and has lived in Jaffa and Acre, according to media reports.
He founded the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in 2005 and supports the end of the State of Israel and the creation of one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, in which Palestinians from all over the world will have the right to live, and Jews will be a small minority.
Barghouti often compares Israel to apartheid in South Africa and to the Nazis, and has refused to cooperate with Israelis who are sympathetic to his cause. In fact, he has said Palestinians who engaged with Israelis have “moral blindness,” calling them “clinically delusional” in a 2005 article.
Despite this, Barghouti is expected to speak at a conference organized by Raja Zaatry, an activist from Hadash and a former spokesman for its current leader, MK Ayman Odeh, in Nazareth on Friday on the topic of how Israeli Arabs should relate to the BDS movement, according to a report by Yishai Friedman in right-wing website Mida this week. High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel chairman Muhammad Barakei is also expected to participate.
Boker wrote to Deri following Friedman’s article, saying, “The BDS movement and Barghouti are the arrowhead in a campaign of hatred and anti-Semitism.”
“A democratic state cannot tolerate a situation in which someone like this has permanent residence status and comes to Israel to preach to its citizens how to boycott it. He is a very dangerous man and he has no business in Israel,” Boker said.
Right-wing NGO Im Tirzu’s director- general Alon Schvartzer joined Boker’s call, calling Barghouti “the ideological and operative arm of the campaign to destroy and boycott the State of Israel.”
“Israel should act like a sovereign state, like all Western democracies do, and not allow those who want to destroy it to enter its territory and preach against it here, too,” Schvartzer said.
Zaatry called Boker’s attempt to ban Barghouti from the country “incitement,” which is “part of the hysterical attacks on the Arab minority in the democratic sphere, which Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu himself leads.
“The inability of the Right to lead a real debate on a real solution for the conflict and about the disastrous ramifications of the continued occupation and settlements leads it to try to silence every critical voice,” Zaatry added. “It is a sign of weakness and a basic misunderstanding of basic rights in every democratic regime worthy of its name.”
Zaatry also said it is “ignorant and malicious” to call BDS anti-Semitic and that “it is ridiculous to pull the anti-Semitic card every time Israel is criticized.”
Barghouti did not respond to an email asking for his reaction. In an interview last summer, republished in Israeli left-wing blog +972, Barghouti said he does not speak to the Israeli press.