Omar Barghouti kept from entering the U.S. for BDS speaking tour

on 17 Comments
The following press release was just issued by the publisher of Barghouti’s upcoming book Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights:
Effectively canceling a planned speaking tour, the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem has inexplicably delayed the granting of a visa for Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) campaign, due to tour the United States this April for the release of his new book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.
Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the book “lucid and morally compelling… perfectly timed to make a major contribution to this urgently needed global campaign for justice, freedom and peace.” Former President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel d’’Escoto Brockmann called it ”timely and responsibly written by a man who understands that creative nonviolence is the only way out of the dire situation in Palestine.””  
In recent years, numerous foreign scholars and experts have been subject to visa delays and denials that have prohibited them from speaking and teaching in the U.S.—a process the American Civil Liberties Union describes as “Ideological Exclusion,” which they say violates Americans’ First Amendment right to hear constitutionally protected speech by denying foreign scholars, artists, politicians and others entry to the United States.  Foreign nationals who have recently been denied visas include Fulbright scholar Marixa Lasso; Iraqi doctor Riyadh Lafta, who disputed the official Iraqi civilian death numbers in the respected British medical journal The Lancet; respected South African scholar and vocal Iraq War critic Dr. Adam Habib, and Oxford’s Tariq Ramadan, who have both recently received visas to speak in the United States after many years of delays and denials.

For the release of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, Barghouti has standing invitations for events in New York City, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Brandeis University, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. Barghouti studied, lived and worked in the United States for 11 years before permanently relocating to Jerusalem. He attended Columbia University, receiving both Bachelors and Masters degrees from the school. His U.S. born child, whom he needs a visa to visit, currently attends college in Indiana. Between 2005-2010, Barghouti visited the U.S. extensively without incident, on a 5 year visa, which only recently expired.
Barghouti’s publisher, Anthony Arnove of Haymarket Books, stated that “It’s essential authors be able to travel to promote their books and ideas, and as publishers we believe the free exchange of ideas is vital to a democratic culture. We find it frustrating that Omar’s visa is being delayed and potentially denied for political reasons and hope the Consulate will grant his visa immediately.”
Barghouti tour sponsors are calling on supporters to contact the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and the Department of State to ask them to fulfill the promise from the Obama Administration of “promoting the global marketplace of ideas” and grant Barghouti’s visa immediately.
U.S. Consulate:
Consul General Daniel Rubinstein
U.S. Consulate General, Jerusalem
18 Agron Road, Jerusalem 94190
Tel.: +972.2.622.7230, Fax: +972.2.625.9270
Department of State:
Visa Services
Public Inquiries Division


On Facebook: Join the group “Let Omar Barghouti Be Heard” and invite your friends
Praise for Omar Barghouti and Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions:
“No one has done more to build the intellectual, legal and moral case for BDS than Omar Barghouti. The global Palestinian solidarity movement has been transformed and is on the cusp of major new breakthroughs.”
–—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and No Logo
“I have been to Palestine where I’ve witnessed the racially segregated housing and the humiliation of Palestinians at military roadblocks. I can’t help but remember the conditions we experienced in South Africa under apartheid. We could not have achieved our freedom without the help of people around the world using the nonviolent means of boycotts and divestment to compel governments and institutions to withdraw their support for the apartheid regime. Omar Barghouti’s lucid and morally compelling book is perfectly timed to make a major contribution to this urgently needed global campaign for justice, freedom and peace.”
–—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate
“Once again Omar Barghouti delivers a conceptually lucid argument for the BDS movement that is difficult to refute. He offers a principled position accompanied by nuanced and thorough analyses, and though one may not agree with all of his claims, one is fully persuaded by the passionate clarity of his appeal. Barghouti reminds us what public responsibility entails, and we are lucky to have his relentless and intelligent analysis and argument. There is no more comprehensive and persuasive case than his for boycott, divestment, and sanctions to end the Israeli occupation and establish the ethical claim of Palestinian rights.”
—–Judith Butler, Co-director of the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California at Berkeley
“The ABC for internationalist support for Palestine is BDS. And the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israeli cruelty and injustice is gaining in significance and scope. Like the anti-apartheid movement against racist South Africa, BDS is helping to make a tremendous difference in what has been a most difficult struggle for human rights and the right of a colonized and dispossessed people to national self-determination. This inspiring book is a weapon in a noble struggle in which all right thinking people can play a part.”
–—Ronne Kasrils, former South African government minister
“This is a book about the political actions necessary to hinder and finally to stop the Israeli state machine which is operating every day to eliminate the Palestinian people. 
It is like an engineer’s report, not a sermon. Read it, decide and then act.”  
–—John Berger
“Essential reading for all who care about justice and the plight of an oppressed people.”  
–—Ken Loach

17 Responses

  1. Potsherd2
    February 18, 2011, 3:29 pm

    State Department = Hillary Clinton = Haim Saban

  2. annie
    February 18, 2011, 4:57 pm

    this makes my blood boil.

  3. Chaos4700
    February 18, 2011, 5:15 pm

    Yet another “Jews-only” right bought and paid for by AIPAC, huh? Though I suppose if the IDF soldiers are going to go anywhere they’d have to come to the US. Anywhere else and they’d be dodging war crimes indictments.

  4. ToivoS
    February 18, 2011, 5:54 pm

    I heard Omar debate Shaul Moaz last year. He was incredible. He is a very disciplined debater and remained on message. He wants justice for the Palestinians, it could in principle be obtained in a one-state, two-state or more states solution. But the bottom line is justice. And that is not negotiable. Since justice does not seem to be on the negotiations table at this time the Palestinians have no choice but resistance. He, of course, is an advocate of non-violent resistance. I think this was the most one sided debate I have ever witnessed. Poor Moaz was left sputtering a few angry diatribes before it was over. He actually argued at one point that resistance was futile and the Palestinians must accept what is being offered.

    I can see why the Zionists want to keep this guy out of the US. He is very persuasive in English. If anyone thinks that the US embassy in Tel Aviv is not a Zionist institution have not been paying attention to what has happened in our State Department these past decades.

  5. pabelmont
    February 18, 2011, 6:17 pm

    Can Barghouti get a substitute to speak FOR him, perhaps Desmond Tutu? who will explain the visa, the apartheid, and the condition of human rights in the occupied territories?

    • Avi
      February 19, 2011, 1:52 am

      He could probably do it via video-link, as did George Galloway when Canada barred him from entry while the US allowed him to appear in person and speak in New York.

      • Lydda Four Eight
        February 19, 2011, 2:44 am

        that is what i was thinking Avi. this will not/can not contain him.

    • Chaos4700
      February 19, 2011, 3:25 am

      What do you want to bet they forgot to remove Tutu’s name from the “terror watch list” even when they finally got around to removing Mandela’s in 2008.

  6. rosemerry
    February 18, 2011, 6:21 pm

    Free speech if you say the right things. Nobody is allowed to think for himslf in the USA. Listen to and read the MSM, believe all the poor bankers, give up any rights to join unions, make sure you are not a Muslim and/or an extremist (unless you are an evangelical christian zionist), vote for indivduals who represent a country other than yours (you know, it is at the moment the only democracy in the ME), and you will be just fine.

  7. lohdennis
    February 18, 2011, 6:30 pm

    The Zionists are desperate!!! We just have to keep on pushing. (Desmond Tutu is very frail. I tried to invite him to the Harvard Club to give a talk recently but was warned that he was too frail to travel by my colleagues there.). We need to use this occasion to make it an opportunity.

  8. lobewyper
    February 18, 2011, 6:47 pm

    Further evidence that the Israeli government fears open debate of its indefensible policies and is attempting to subvert free speech, which is a central pillar of democracy. Time for Al Jazeera English to be mainstreamed on US TV.

  9. Les
    February 18, 2011, 10:15 pm

    More evidence that Obama/Clinton remain a fierce opponents of free speech.

  10. justicewillprevail
    February 19, 2011, 7:51 am

    Omar is one of the best hopes for a new independent and intelligent Palestinian leadership. That is why Israel and its lackey the US (as we have seen at the UN) will do anything to keep him from appearing on the media and in public. He, and others like him, can transform the debate and the perception of ISraelistine – everything Israel fears, as its pathetic propaganda will collapse under any sustained and informed debate.

  11. stevelaudig
    February 19, 2011, 6:13 pm

    Obama and Clinton continue to disappoint. And I would not argue that “Oh, just wait till he isn’t facing re-election… when he is re-elected he will change.” There is no lie stronger than a self-lie.

  12. petersz
    February 19, 2011, 11:28 pm

    He can always speak via a video link. George Galloway did the same when he was refused entry to Canada!

    • annie
      February 20, 2011, 12:15 am

      yeah, he can. but it’s not the same. Barghouti is a great speaker. i heard him twice. the first time he hadn’t slept all night. just in from palestine. he’s got a very wry sense of humor and a keen sense of ‘beingness’ and connecting to the audience. it’s hard to explain. he’s awesome in person. a sight and sound to behold. i’ve watched his videos and it isn’t the same. i can’t explain it. he fuses with his audience in a subliminal personal way.

      it’s a shame what’s being blocked by this denial of his visa. it’s his personal strength and power. power in the truth and also power in a charismatic sense. he’s ..palestinian. it’s hard to explain because our culture doesn’t produce this kind of man. it’s a kind of unique depth of being.

      i’m so sad. this makes me so sad.

      • annie
        February 20, 2011, 12:23 am

        he’s a great man. great speaker misses the mark. he transcends cultural barriers and breaks molds. obviously i am in awe of him. he’s going to change the world no matter how they hold him back. the degree in which they suppress him will multiply his influence.

        if you ever get a chance to hear him speak in person, jump. he leaves an impression that will last a lifetime. subtle constant undercurrent revealing the power of honor and justice.

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