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        dir="ltr"> <font size="-2"><a id="reader-domain" class="domain"
href="https://bdsmovement.net/news/bnc-statement-israel%E2%80%99s-ongoing-campaign-silence-omar-barghouti-repress-bds-movement">https://bdsmovement.net/news/bnc-statement-israel%E2%80%99s-ongoing-campaign-silence-omar-barghouti-repress-bds-movement</a></font>
        <h1 id="reader-title">BNC Statement on Israel’s Ongoing Campaign
          to Silence Omar Barghouti & Repress the BDS Movement</h1>
        <div id="reader-credits" class="credits">Palestinian BDS
          National Committee</div>
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            <p dir="ltr"
              id="docs-internal-guid-cadabcfb-f68f-79f3-2fe7-a501690be803"><em>March
                22, 2017</em> — On the morning of Sunday, March 19,
              Israeli tax authorities barged into the home of Omar
              Barghouti, the prominent Palestinian human rights defender
              and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
              (BDS) movement for the freedom, justice and equality of
              the Palestinian people. They detained and interrogated
              Omar and his wife Safa for 16 hours that first day. Omar
              is currently enduring a fourth day of interrogation.</p>
            <p dir="ltr"><strong>Below is the Palestinian Boycott,
                Divestment and Sanctions National Committee’s (BNC)
                response to these developments and the Israeli
                government’s systematic efforts to criminalize the BDS
                movement, intimidate activists and stop free speech:</strong></p>
            <div>
              <p dir="ltr">A prominent Palestinian human rights defender
                and co-founder of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, has
                for years been subjected to intense threats,
                intimidation and repression by various arms of the
                far-right Israeli government, particularly after it
                considered the movement a “<a
href="https://972mag.com/israels-president-says-bds-is-a-strategic-threat/107156/">strategic
                  threat</a>” to its entire system of injustice against
                Palestinians.</p>
              <p dir="ltr">At a March 2016 conference in occupied
                Jerusalem, several Israeli government ministers
                threatened Omar and key BDS human rights defenders with
                severe measures, including “<a
href="http://amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/israeli-government-must-cease-intimidation-of-human-rights-defenders-protect-them-from-attacks">targeted
                  civil elimination</a>” – a euphemism for civil
                assassination. The Ministry of Strategic Affairs last
                year established a “tarnishing unit,” as exposed in the
                Israeli daily Haaretz. This unit’s job is to tarnish the
                reputation of BDS human rights defenders and networks.</p>
              <p dir="ltr">It is in this context that the Israeli tax
                department’s investigation of Omar and his wife, Safa,
                must be understood. After failing to intimidate them
                through the threat of revoking Omar’s permanent
                residence in Israel, and after the effective travel ban
                imposed on him proved futile in stopping his human
                rights work, the Israeli government has resorted to
                fabricating a case related to Omar’s alleged income
                outside of Israel to tarnish his image and intimidate
                him.</p>
              <p dir="ltr">The fact that this investigation includes a
                travel ban and that it comes a few weeks before Omar
                Barghouti is scheduled to travel to the U.S. to receive
                the Gandhi Peace Award jointly with Ralph Nader in a
                ceremony at Yale University proves its true motive
                —repression.</p>
              <p dir="ltr">The fact that the Israeli government
                publicized the inflammatory fabrications against Omar
                just 24 hours after he was taken in for investigation
                shows beyond doubt that the investigation’s real goal is
                to tarnish his reputation.</p>
              <p dir="ltr">No matter what extreme measures of repression
                Israel wields against the BDS movement or its human
                rights defenders and vast network of supporters, it
                cannot stop this movement for human rights. Bullying and
                repression can hardly affect a grassroots movement that
                grows in people’s hearts and minds, empowering them to
                do the right thing — to stand on the right side of
                history, against Israel’s fanatic regime of apartheid,
                occupation and ethnic cleansing, and for freedom,
                justice and equality for the Palestinian people.</p>
              <p dir="ltr">This latest desperate chapter of repression
                and intimidation by the Israeli government against Omar
                Barghouti is the strongest indicator yet of the failure
                of the Israeli regime of occupation, settler-colonialism
                and apartheid to slow down the impressive growth of the
                BDS movement for Palestinian rights.</p>
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            <p dir="ltr"><em>The Palestinian BDS National Committee (<a
                  href="https://bdsmovement.net/bnc">BNC</a>) is the
                largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads
                and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and
                Sanctions movement. Visit <a
                  href="http://www.bdsmovement.net/">www.bdsmovement.net</a>
                and follow @BDSmovement</em></p>
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