Israel

U.S. Denies Entry to Israel Boycott Movement Founder Omar Barghouti

The United States government denied entry to Palestinian activist and co-founder of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement Omar Barghouti on Thursday.

He was informed by airline staff at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv that he was unable to board his flight because U.S. immigration officials had denied him entry into the country. A State Department official told NPR, “Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”

Barghouti, who claims that Israel is an apartheid state, is married to an Arab-Israeli woman and lives in Israel as a permanent resident with full rights. Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which spearheads global anti-BDS efforts, denied any involvement in the decision.

Barghouti was scheduled to speak in several U.S. cities as part of a series of events organized by the Arab American Institute. The tour was to include a stop at a bookstore in Philadelphia owned by Marc Lamont Hill, a former political commentator who was fired by CNN for calling for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea,” during a speech at the United Nations.

Though the BDS campaign often claims that it is fighting for Palestinian rights, its leaders have made clear that their goal is the destruction of Israel. Many leading boycott activists have publicly opposed the two-state solution and affirmed that the movement seeks Israel’s destruction.

Barghouti said in 2004, “We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it … I, for one, support euthanasia.” He also said in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance.” Leading BDS activist As’ad Abu Khalil similarly acknowledged in 2012 that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”

In February, the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation that includes a measure making it illegal for state contractors to participate in the discriminatory boycott of Israel.

[Photo: The Guardian / YouTube]