Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS Movement for Palestinians.
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions founder Omar Barghouti has expressed dismay and confusion over his entry into the United States being refused.
In an op-ed to the UK newspaper The Guardian, Barghouti claimed that "Israel appears to have once again enlisted the Trump administration to do its bidding."
He claimed in the piece that with his "denial of entry, Israel appears to have once again enlisted the Trump administration to do its bidding, this time to repress Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights defenders," he wrote. "They wish to deny lawmakers, journalists and ordinary Americans their right to listen first-hand to a Palestinian human rights advocate calling for ending US complicity in Israel’s crimes against our people."
As a co-founder of the BDS movement "for Palestinian rights," Barghouti said he has "been smeared by the Israeli government and banned from travel repeatedly, including in 2018 when I was prevented from going to Jordan to accompany my late mother during cancer surgery."
"Israel’s intelligence minister threatened me with 'targeted civil elimination,' drawing condemnation from Amnesty International," he wrote. "Their de facto and 'arbitrary travel ban' against me was recently lifted for three months after Amnesty International’s pressure."
Barghouti went on to say that while on his US trip, he was scheduled to meet with policymakers and journalists and "to address the critical need for cutting US complicity in Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian rights before audiences at New York University, Harvard, a black community bookstore in Philadelphia and the Tzedek Chicago synagogue."
"Afterwards, I was going to attend my daughter’s wedding in Houston," he said, adding that there is no way for him to compensate this loss.
"Since Trump took office, he has repeatedly signaled his deep bias in favor of Israel," Barghouti went on to say, calling the US president's Middle East team, Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, "the most dishonest broker in the history of US 'peacemaking.'"
"He has recognized Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights in violation of international law and more than seven decades of official US policy," Barghouti added.
The BDS leader also slammed members of Congress and politicians in 27 US states, who have passed anti-BDS laws, which are "intended to suppress the voices of Americans who support BDS," adding that "all of this has emboldened Israel’s hardline right-wing government to accelerate its racist, oppressive policies towards the Palestinian people."
On Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments about annexing the West Bank and his win in the recent elections, Barghouti argued that the premier "will now likely form a government even more extreme and intransigent than the last, which was the most racist in Israel’s history."
"Some Palestinians are now helplessly anticipating a far-right Israeli tsunami that will wipe out whatever rights we have left, but many are intensifying popular resistance, including BDS, calling for impactful solidarity and ending international complicity," he said, concluding that "despite the efforts of Israel’s governments and its supporters in the Trump administration, we shall intensify our common fight against oppression and racism in all its forms through our struggle for freedom, justice and equality."
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