[News] Under Israeli gag order, Omar Barghouti urges more BDS

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Apr 3 16:15:42 EDT 2017


  Under Israeli gag order, Omar Barghouti urges more BDS

Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> 1 
April 2017

Human rights defender Omar Barghouti is urging people around the world 
to increase boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns as the 
best way to show support for him – and for the Palestinian people – as 
he faces escalating repression by the Israeli government.

“Finally, I was allowed to access my email account after 12 days of 
being banned from doing so during the most intense phase of the ongoing 
interrogation I am subjected to by the Israeli authorities,” Barghouti 
wrote in an email to supporters on Saturday.

In what is his first public statement since his interrogation began in 
mid-March, Barghouti condemned Israel’s “McCarthyite witch hunt” against 
him and the BDS movement.

“Due to a gag order, I am not allowed to delve into any facts about the 
case,” Barghouti added. “I am thus denied the ability to even refute the 
vicious lies published by Israel’s regime against me. I am in no hurry 
to do so, though, as their main objective – attempting to tarnish my 
reputation and, by extension, hurting the BDS movement – has clearly 

Barghouti says that a statement 
issued last week by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) 
“accurately sums up this latest chapter in the Israeli regime’s war on 
the BDS movement.”

Israeli media have reported that Barghouti, who lives in the coastal 
city of Akka in present-day Israel, is suspected of tax evasion. The 
BNC, the civil society coalition that guides the BDS movement, has 
the Israeli government of “fabricating a case” against Barghouti.

    “More BDS”

Barghouti was due to travel to the US this month to receive the Gandhi 
Peace Award <http://www.gandhipeaceaward.org/>. But by preventing him 
from doing so, “Israel’s regime has inadvertently increased the 
publicity around this award,” Barghouti asserted.

Israel’s strategic affairs ministry last year created a “tarnishing unit 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.725684>” to assist its 
efforts to thwart the growth of Palestine solidarity around the world.

“This devious unit’s key function is summed up in ‘digging up dirt’ 
against human rights defenders and networks associated with the BDS 
movement and, if no dirt is found, in fabricating it,” Barghouti said.

Barghouti thanked well-wishers for messages of solidarity. He added: 
“Many of you have asked how best you can support me to face this latest 
persecution. My answer is, without hesitation … more BDS!”

Barghouti stated: “We need to expand, mainstream and build on our many 
inspiring BDS campaigns, academic, cultural and economic, as the most 
effective way to respond to the new McCarthyism designed by Israel’s 
regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid and exported to 
states where its lobby groups enjoy massive influence.”

    Open threats

In the past year, Barghouti has been subjected to a travel ban 
and open threats by Israel’s top ministers.

During a “Stop the Boycott” conference held in Jerusalem last year, 
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s public security and strategic affairs minister, 
that BDS activists “will know they will pay a price for it.”

Singling out Barghouti, Erdan, who is responsible for spearheading 
Israel’s assault on the global BDS movement, added, “We will soon be 
hearing more of our friend Barghouti.”

During the same conference, which was attended by EU and US diplomats, 
Israel’s intelligence minister Yisrael Katz called for the thwarting of 
the BDS leadership, using the same Hebrew term used by the military for 
“targeted killing,” or extrajudicial execution.

Israel’s interior minister Aryeh Deri told conference attendees that he 
was considering revoking Barghouti’s residency permit.

In response, Amnesty International expressed its concern 
for the “safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar 
Barghouti, and other boycott, divestment and sanctions activists, 
following calls alluding to threats, including of physical harm and 
deprivation of basic rights, made by Israeli ministers.”

Barghouti’s message indicates that the barrage of threats and actual 
repression has done nothing to temper his determination.

“As humans, we need permission from no one to pursue our inherent 
rights,” he said. “As human rights defenders, no degree of intimidation 
and bullying can deter us in our passionate, nonviolent resistance to 
injustice, inequality and colonial slavery.”

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