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