Knesset Member Asks Israeli Interior Minister to Revoke Permanent Resident Status of Arab BDS Founder
A member of Knesset from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party requested that the permanent residency status of a leader of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement be rescinded, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Thursday.
Likud MK Nava Boker wrote to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, asking that he revoke the residency status of Omar Barghouti, who is arriving in Israel on Friday to attend a conference on “The Boycott, and the Palestinians of 1948,” held by the Monitoring and Steering Committee for Israeli Arabs, as a guest of honor, according to the report.
In her letter, Boker wrote: “This is a person who was born in Qatar, raised in Egypt and received permanent residency in Israel after marrying an Arab Israeli. Barghouti, who completed his doctorate at Tel Aviv University, spends his time lecturing all over the world, where he calls for the isolation of Israel and imposition of a boycott against it. I ask that you exercise your authority under the law and rescind Barghouti’s permanent Israeli residency status.”
Boker told nrg why she took this initiative. “The BDS movement and its founder, Barghouti, are the spearheaders of the campaign of hatred and antisemitism against the state of Israel and the Jews,” she said. “A democratic country cannot tolerate a situation in which such a person receives permanent residency and then comes to [that country] in order to preach to its citizens how to boycott it. He is a very dangerous person who has no business being [here].”
According to nrg, Barghouti is in high demand on the international lecture circuit, where he calls Israel an “apartheid state” and urges it be boycotted. In a recent conference in Spain, for example, he said that “Israeli crimes against the Palestinians have reached new lows,” while calling Operation Cast Lead — Israel’s three-week-long war against Hamas in Gaza at the end of 2008, beginning of 2009 — a “barbaric massacre” and “genocide.”
Barghouti is a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and a co-founder of the BDS movement, described on its website as follows:
The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.
In addition, the organization specifies that all joint activities with Israeli academics should stop, as should all financial backing to any Israeli institution.
In a 2013 article in the New York Daily News — titled “The BDS movement explained: Why I’ve boycotted Israel” — Barghouti, an opponent of the two-state solution, wrote, “Without increasing international pressure and accountability, Israel will carry on with total impunity its brutal and illegal blockade of Gaza; its untamed construction of illegal settlements and wall in the occupied West Bank; its strategy of ‘Judaization’ in Jerusalem, the Galilee, the Jordan Valley and the Naqab (Negev), its adoption of new racist laws and its denial of refugees’ rights.”