Interior Ministry keeping BDS leader Barghouti from leaving country

Omar Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and married an Israeli-Arab woman, gaining permanent residence status.

Omar Barghouti (photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)
Omar Barghouti
(photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)
The Interior Ministry refused to renew Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement founder Omar Barghouti’s travel documents, a Population, Immigration and Borders Authority spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
Barghouti spends much of his time traveling the world to campaign for boycotts of Israel, but is unable to leave the country without the travel documents a permanent resident carries.
“Interior Minister Arye Deri announced a month ago that he is considering canceling [Barghouti’s] permanent residence status,” the PIBA statement said. “In addition, it turns out that, recently the center of his life apparently has been not in Israel, but in Ramallah.”
The Interior Ministry has, since the start of the last wave of terrorism, revoked citizenship, and permanent residence status from noncitizens who abetted terrorists.
Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and married an Israeli- Arab woman, gaining permanent residence status. He is a doctoral candidate at Tel Aviv University and has lived in Jaffa and Acre, according to media reports.
He founded the BDS 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 generally refused to cooperate with Israelis, even if they 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.
The BDS founder does not speak to the Israeli press and ignored past requests for comment from The Jerusalem Post.
Barghouti told AFP on Tuesday that he was never based in Ramallah, saying: “I reside with my family in our home in Acre. I’ve had Israeli permanent residency for almost 23 years, in accordance with the law and without any violations.”
He also said he was prevented from attending two events in California in recent weeks, addressing them by Skype.
“Israel is imposing this travel ban on me, demonizing me and threatening me to intimidate me into silence,” Barghouti said, according to AFP.