Omar Barghouti founded the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement in July 2005 after becoming a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in 2004 (PACBI joined the BDS campaign in 2005). He also co-founded the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions National Committee (BNC) in November 2007. The BNC leads and supports the BDS movement and, according to Barghouti, “sets the overall strategies, the objectives of the movement.”
Canary Mission backgrounder:
Barghouti has expressed support for terrorism, promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and regularly demonizes Israel. He opposes the Jewish right to self-determination and Israel’s existence, openly calling for its destruction as a Jewish state.
Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and later moved to Acre, Israel, where he lived as of 2017. He holds two degrees in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University and a master’s degree in Philosophy (ethics) from Tel Aviv University. He began studying for a doctorate there in 2009 but did not finish.
In 2001, during the second intifada, Barghouti wrote a chapter for a book, “The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid.” The book’s description referred to “the heroism and costs of the resistance.” Barghouti’s chapter glorified the intifada, describing it as the “tell-tale heart of the old Palestine” and a “wildly exaggerated threat.”
In 2010, Barghouti stated [00:13:50] that “we believe that people under occupation, in international law, have a right to resist by any means, including violent means,” but not “indiscriminately.” He went on to say, “in the BDS movement we don’t say we’re against violent resistance.”
In a 2010 interview with a Palestinian magazine, Barghouti reportedly stated that “we most definitely have a moral and legal right to an armed resistance against the military occupation of our land, even according to international law, as long as we attack legitimate targets, that is, the occupation, settlers [i.e., Israeli civilians] and people who are armed.”
On July 3, 2011, speaking at a Socialism conference in Chicago, Barghouti said that [00:02:23] “the media focuses only on one form of resistance, which we are proud of – we’re not ashamed to have armed resistance as well as peaceful resistance… people under occupation have a right to resist by all means.”
On January 15, 2014, Barghouti addressed Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), presenting a talk titled “International Solidarity With Palestine: Towards a Global Intifada.” Barghouti defended the Palestinians’ “right to ‘resistance by any means, including armed resistance.’”
In July 2017, Barghouti was awarded the Gandhi Peace Award. At the award ceremony, he said [00:01:14] that he dedicated the award “to the heroic Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike in Israel’s apartheid dungeons.”
Marwan Barghouti also headed the Palestinian Authority (PA) terrorist Tanzim force and founded the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. His organizations carried out a large number of deadly attacks, killing scores of Israelis and wounding hundreds.
Marwan Barghouti was sentenced to five consecutive life terms by an Israeli civilian court for some of his his crimes. While in Israeli prison, he completed his doctorate in Political Science.
More than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners participated in the hunger strike — most of whom were also convicted for acts of terrorism, including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary General Ahmad Sa’adat.
The organization that tops the BNC’s list of supporting “Unions, Associations, Campaigns” is Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine/Palestinian National and Islamic Forces (PNIF). The PNIF is also a member of the BNC Secretariat “within the national and Islamic action committee.”The PNIF — the first signatory listed on the 2005 BDS call — is a coalition of organizations established by terrorists Marwan Barghouti and Yasser Arafat in 2000-2001, at the beginning of the second intifada, to coordinate terror attacks against Israel by Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) groups and Hamas.The coalition also includes terrorist organizations such the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) and Palestinians Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
Barghouti’s father was [00:00:28] a PLO founder in 1964. In a February 2017 interview with BDS in Norway, Barghouti stated [00:00:36] that “The PLO was very much part of our family… it was very much part of our upbringing.”
Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories
On February 24, 2015, speaking at Portland State University (Portland), Barghouti claimed [00:24:38] “The U.S. and Israel are benefiting a lot from this ISIS phenomenon… well they created Taliban, they created Al-qaeda… so why not ISIS? …We don’t have conclusive evidence.”
The talk was sponsored by Portland’s SJP chapter, Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER).
On January 11, 2014, during a talk at Wayne State University, Barghouti claimed [00:07:40] “Israel has a hold on Congress, has enormous influence on Congress, not just because the Zionist Jewish lobby or Zionist Christian fundamentalist lobbies are doing a tremendous job.They are… they know how to bully, how to intimidate… ‘Congress is bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.’”
Opposing Jewish Self-Determination
During his 2014 talk at UCLA, Barghouti reportedly denied that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination or any collective rights.
In a talk he gave in Norway, organized by the “Networkers South-North” group and posted on Vimeo on September 23, 2013, Barghouti referred to [00:07:16] “self-determination for Jewish settlers in Palestine, which I categorically oppose. Never in history was a colonizing community ever allowed self-determination… colonizers are not entitled to self-determination.”
Calling for Israel’s Destruction as the Jewish State
Barghouti endorses the one-state solution, which he says [00:02:17] can only come about by the “de-zionization” of Israel as the Jewish state.
At his 2013 “Networkers South-North” talk in Norway, Barghouti said [00:05:32] “A Jewish state in Palestine, in any shape or form, cannot but contravene the basic rights of the land’s indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically.”
He continued [00:05:53]: “Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”
In a February 24, 2010 interview, Barghouti asked rhetorically [00:01:14] “If the occupation ends, let’s say, would that end your call for BDS? No it wouldn’t.” Regarding the right of return, he said [00:04:32] “we cannot negotiate [it] away… this is something that we cannot compromise on.”
On May 31, 2009, in an interview on the Electronic Intifada site, Barghouti stated that “…a return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. The right of return is a basic right that cannot be given away; it’s inalienable.” In 2016, Barghouti said [00:00:40] that “the need for the right of return of the refugees” was the “most important” of BDS three stated goals.
In 2007, Barghouti was one of the authors of the “One State Declaration” that called for “The implementation of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN Resolution 194.” By 2003, Barghouti, had affirmed that the one-state solution meant “a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”
In a January 6, 2004 op-ed for Electronic Intifada, Barghouti wrote that “We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia.”
The “right of return” is a Palestinian demand discredited as a means to eliminate Israel. International law mandates no absolute right of return and UN Resolution 194, which defined principles for “returning Palestine refugees to their homes,” was unanimously rejected by Arab nations following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
Barghouti has repeatedly accused Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing. He has claimed that “Palestinian communities… have been recently subjected to some of the worst, ongoing Israeli campaigns of gradual ethnic cleansing intended to Judaize their space.”
He has also claimed that Zionism is “a patently racist ideology that has served to enable and justify the ethnic cleansing of most of the indigenous people of Palestine” and has accused Israel of “indiscriminate killings (including of children)” and of the “deliberate shooting of Palestinian children during this [the second] intifada.”
In a July 8, 2014 interview, Barghouti opposed an inter-faith educational program, the Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI), referring to it as “inter-fail.”
He said that the program aims to “brainwash” Muslims “through trying to whitewash Israeli apartheid, through whitewashing Zionism, making Zionism look better, and hiding its racist character that seeks a Jewish exclusionary, a Jewish ethnocratic state that excludes non-Jews from equal rights.”
He continued: “That’s what Zionism is… We’re living under Zionism in Palestine, we’re living under apartheid and occupation, we don’t need any brainwashed Muslim in the United States or elsewhere to tell us: oh, Zionism is misunderstood. You’ve got to be more tolerant of Zionism. Thank you very much, we’re living Zionism, and we don’t want it.”
In Barghouti’s January 2014 UCLA talk, he promoted [00:24:38] the claim that “Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian children ‘for sport’.” He also reportedly described Israel’s self-defense measures as “routine terrorism.”
At the 2011 Socialism conference in Chicago, Barghouti outlined his strategy of attack on Israeli academia and went on to demonize Israeli inventions and technology, by saying [00:37:44]: “Do you want me to tell you what Germany had invented before the Nazis?”
In 2010, Barghouti reportedly stated that in Gaza “There are no death camps. Israel is too sophisticated for that. Israel is a more evolved war criminal. It does things slower.”
In a 2010 interview Barghouti claimed [00:13:00] that Israel “is the most violent entity that exists in this entire region.”
In a speech he gave on December 4, 2009, Barghouti compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying [00:06:44]: “Must we see gas chambers in order for people to react? …Germany did not start with gas chambers, they started with racist laws… and we are seeing this process in Gaza and in the occupied territories and even inside Israel.”
In his May 31, 2009 interview on Electronic Intifada, Barghouti accused Israel of “legalized and institutionalized racism,” claiming “that’s what makes it apartheid.”
He went on to say that “the Israeli occupation and denial of refugee rights is even much worse than anything South Africa had… they never had this level of outright violence and massacres. Of course, there was Sharpeville, so many massacres in Soweto, and so on, but it all pales in comparison to what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians.”
On December 1, 2004, in an op-ed for Electronic Intifada, Barghouti wrote “Many of the methods of collective and individual ‘punishment’ meted out to Palestinian civilians at the hands of young, racist, often sadistic and ever impervious Israeli soldiers… are reminiscent of common Nazi practices against the Jews.”
The BDS movement was founded in 2005 by Omar Barghouti and asserts that it “works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”
The movement’s most notable achievement has been the infiltration of university campuses through lobbying for “BDS resolutions.” In these cases, backed by university anti-Israel affiliates, student governments have brought to vote on some form of boycott of — or divestment from — Israel and Israeli-affiliated entities. These resolutions, although non-binding, have been passed by student governments on numerous North American campuses.
BDS activity is often aggressive and disruptive. It has been noted that universities that pass BDS resolutions see a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus. In 2013, when the student government of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) debated a BDS resolution, reports emerged of violent threats and the spitting on a student wearing a Star of David necklace. As a result, the student government chose to vote via a “secret ballot” in order to ensure its members’ safety.
Infamous Quotes“The media focuses only on one form of resistance, which we are proud of – we’re not ashamed to have armed resistance as well as peaceful resistance”“The U.S. and Israel are benefiting a lot from this ISIS phenomenon… well they created Taliban, they created Al-qaeda… so why not ISIS?”“Israel has a hold on Congress, has enormous influence on Congress, not just because the Zionist Jewish lobby or Zionist Christian fundamentalist lobbies are doing a tremendous job… Congress is bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”“Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”“If the occupation ends, let’s say, would that end your call for BDS? No it wouldn’t.”“You cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two state solution… a return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. The right of return is a basic right that cannot be given away; it’s inalienable.”“We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia.”“There’s no dialogue, co-existence… We should have co-resistance, not co-existence.”
“[Israel] is the most violent entity that exists in this entire region.”
U.S. Blocks BDS Co-Founder Barghouti from Entering the Country
by Steven Emerson, IPT News, April 11, 2019
Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the movement to boycott and sanction Israel, a movement which many backers hope will lead to Israel’s elimination, was supposed to arrive in Washington, D.C. yesterday to give two lectures and to meet with members of Congress.
Instead, he’s back at his home in Israel.
The Arab American Institute, one of Barghouti’s hosts, announced Thursday morning that Barghouti, “prominent Palestinian human rights activist, was denied entry into the United States at Ben Gurion Airport despite having valid travel documents. We at AAI invited him to DC to participate in a number of speaking engagements and educational programs.”
The announcement came less than a half an hour before the first of those engagements started.
Arab American Institute founder and President James Zogby promised to litigate the issue. “Our regressive, discriminatory discrimination laws are an impediment to free speech,” he said.
But Barghouti is not being silenced. He appeared via computer link and engaged in the same question and answer session with journalist Peter Beinart that would have happened had he been allowed into the country.
That didn’t matter to Barghouti, who also claimed he was kept out of the country in an attempt to silence him. And he accused the United States of acting not in its own interests, but as a “proxy” for Israel.
Denying him entry, he said, is “part of an ongoing repression by Israel, or by proxy, by the United States on behalf of Israel to silence human rights defenders in the BDS movement, be it Palestinian, Israeli or international human rights defenders who are active in the BDS movement.”
He also said he would never accept Israel without a Palestinian “right of return.” But that has the potential to flood the state demographically, resulting in Israel’s ultimate elimination.
It isn’t clear why Barghouti, who frequently visits the United States, was not allowed in this time, but it is believed to be based on national security matters and a tax evasion case against him.
The Immigration and Naturalization Act allows people to be denied entry for terrorism issues, which the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition defines as “any terrorist involvement whatsoever, including incidental, that DHS ‘knows or has reasonable grounds to believe’ is true.”
As the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported Wednesday, a Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center report detailed Barghouti’s opposition to Israel’s existence and any Palestinian acceptance of, or coordination with, the Jewish state. In 2010, he spoke of “a moral and legal right to an armed resistance” against what he called “legitimate targets,” including Israeli civilians living in the West Bank.
In addition, he told a UCLA audience in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance.” He denied that Jews were indigenous to the land and denied their status as a people with a right to self-determination.
In a 2016 Portland State University speech, he said that “the U.S. intelligence community created the beginnings of ISIS” and created the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Immigration law also allows people to be denied entry into the United States for “crimes of moral turpitude.”
The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has found that tax evasion amounts to a crime of moral turpitude, which is among the justifications that can be used to deny people entry into the United States or to remove immigrants convicted of such crimes.
Israeli officials arrested Barghouti in March 2017 and accused him of evading taxes on more than $700,000 in income. Some of that money came from speaking fees from his U.S. travel. Other money reportedly came from his business, the Ramallah-based National Computing Resources company. Barghouti lives in Acre, Israel, a coastal town north of Haifa, but was accused of stashing money in a Ramallah account.
Barghouti helped launch the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) in 2007 and continues to lead it, the Meir Amit report said. BDS seeks to isolate Israel economically, politically and culturally with many leaders holding the ultimate aim of destroying it. It is considered anti-Semitic because it targets the world’s only Jewish state while ignoring other countries, including Muslim-majority nations, with far worse human rights records.
During a BNC conference last month, several speakers discussed the importance of “popular resistance” as an element of BDS. That’s a term which at best is open to interpretation. While BDS claims to support nonviolence, Palestinian leaders often use “popular resistance” as a veiled reference to terrorism and violent Palestinian campaigns targeting Israeli civilians.
Hamas’s formal name translates to the Islamic Resistance Movement.
Barghouti, who reportedly was trying to line up meetings on Capitol Hill, also was supposed to speak tonight at a separate Arab American Institute event “to dispel the myths around the movement and engage in a candid discussion on the struggle to advance Palestinian rights in the current climate.” He also was set to appear Monday with former CNN pundit Marc Lamont Hill and Rebecca Vilkomerson, director of the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace, at New York University.
CNN fired Hill last fall after he concluded a United Nations speech with a wish for “a free Palestine, from the river to the sea.” That slogan, which is a staple of anti-Israel events, envisions a future in which Israel does not exist, and is replaced by a Palestinian state. While some argue Hill’s firing shows people cannot criticize Israel, his entire speech was devoted to doing just that. His firing came only because he wished for a country’s elimination.
The two also are slated to appear Sunday at Uncle Bobbie’s, Hill’s own bookstore in Philadelphia.
Barghouti’s U.S. tour also was supposed to include a talk April 17 at Harvard University as an extension of “Israel Apartheid Week” there. Organizers with the Palestinian Solidarity Committee said they originally planned to have him appear last Saturday via Skype, but delayed that when they learned he planned to be in the country.
“We apologize if this comes as a disappointment for some of you,” they wrote, “but we are very excited to have Omar Barghouti speak in person on April 17th, and we invite you to join us for that event!”
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