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Israel prepares to deport BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti

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Israel’s Minister of the Interior says he is taking action to force Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, out of the country.

I intend to act quickly to deprive Omar Barghouti of residency status in Israel… This is a man who does everything to harm the country and therefore must not enjoy the right to be a resident of Israel.

Aryeh Deri said he had directed the Population and Immigration Authority to prepare a legal opinion aimed at Barghouti’s deportation.

The announcement comes after Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber notified Deri’s office that it had the authority to revoke Barghouti’s residency. The legal basis: a 2018 amendment to the residency law, listing “breach of trust” as a crime which may justify stripping a residency status. Barghouti married a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and lives under the residency status in the city of Acre.

Imagine it – the state “trusts” you to not take it to task for its violations, it “trusts” you to not complain and to accept these violations, and if you protest, even in a non-violent and civil manner, you have breached that “trust”.

Barghouti has long been a target for fascistic suggestions. In a 2016 anti-BDS conference sponsored by the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, then Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Israel Katz suggested “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leadership. “Targeted elimination” is a well-known Israeli term for assassination. He merely added the “civil” to make it sound more “civil”. Barghouti was singled out by name, and the anti-BDS Czar Gilad Erdan said that BDS activists will “pay a price”. “We will soon be hearing more of our friend Barghouti”, Erdan hinted insidiously.

Soon after that, the local Ministry of the Interior office notified Barghouti that his travel document (which he has to renew every two years) would not be renewed. It was then temporarily renewed following legal pressure. Barghouti told Glenn Greenwald at the time:

So we are really unnerved, I am personally quite unnerved by those threats. We take them very seriously, especially in this context. We live in a country where racism and racial incitement against indigenous Palestinians has grown tremendously into the Israeli mainstream. It has really become mainstream today to be very openly racist against Palestinians. Many settlers and hard-right-wing Israelis are taking matters into their own hands – completely supported by the state – and attacking Palestinians. So in that context I am unnerved, but I’m certainly undeterred. I shall continue my non-violent struggle for Palestinian rights under international law and nothing they can do will stop me.

Barghouti was indeed “targeted”, but so far only by the “civil” means of preventing his travels by bureaucratic means. Lately that has included US and UK initiatives, with nebulous holdups and refusals which the governments didn’t seek to defend.

In the US case last April, Barghouti was stopped at the Israeli Ben Gurion airport and denied travel to the US, despite having a valid visa. James Zogby of the Arab American Institute, which had been coordinating the trip, commented:

Omar Barghouti is a leading Palestinian voice on human rights. Omar’s denial of entry into the US is the latest example of the Trump administration’s disregard for those rights.

In the UK case from last month, Barghouti was meant to speak at a fringe event of the Labour conference, organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). He ended up speaking on skype, due to an “unexplained, abnormal delay” in the issuing of his visa. PSC said in a statement:

The unprecedented delay in processing Barghouti’s travel visa application by the British government is part and parcel of the growing efforts by Israel and its allies to suppress Palestinian voices and the movements for Palestinian rights,

The recent move to revoke Barghouti’s residency seems to result from a right-wing incitement campaign by the group Betzalmo (a pun on the human rights monitoring group B’tselem). They wrote to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and to Deri just over a week ago, urging them to expel Barghouti. In their letter they noted the US’s denial of entry, and asked why the Israeli government has not acted to strip Barghouti of his residency rights. They elaborated that Barghouti harms the state, breaches allegiance and is a security threat:

A recent law authorizes the Interior Minister, with the approval of the attorney-general, to revoke residency for anyone who harms state security or violates allegiance to the state, or endangers public peace… Undoubtedly Barghouti’s leadership of the boycott movement against all citizens of the State of Israel severely harms the State of Israel and is a blatant breach of allegiance, as well as a threat to Israel’s security and defense by pushing for an arms embargo against Israel.

So: The green light from the Attorney-General’s office, a further green light from Deri’s office, and the machine seems set to deport the “traitor”.

For Israel, Barghouti proves that you can’t trust Palestinians to shut up, and that they need to learn it the hard way. But every step that Israel takes in its repressive attempt to silence dissent, becomes another reason to boycott it. Indeed, as Erdan promised, we’ve heard a lot from, and about, Omar Barghouti. And we’re bound to hear much more about him, and BDS.

H/t Dorte Olga Dalsgaard

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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23 Responses

  1. echinococcus on October 8, 2019, 5:09 am

    “For Israel, Barghouti proves that you can’t trust Palestinians to shut up, and that they need to learn it the hard way”

    A way more profitable lesson is more appropriate. Including in the Omar Barghouti case:

    For the world outside the Zionist bubble, the total illegality of the Zionist state’s very existence means, by definition, that you can’t trust any Zionist organization, especially their illegitimate state, to behave within any civilized rules; whoever does will have to learn it the hard way.

    • Nathan on October 8, 2019, 2:18 pm

      echinococcus – If you think that the “world outside the Zionist bubble” regards the State of Israel to be “illegal”, then actually you’re the one living in some alternative reality. Ever since the Eurovision song contest was held in Israel, you can draw two obvious conclusions. First of all, BDS is a flop. And secondly, states that participate in song contests and sing on key must by definition be worthy of statehood.

      • echinococcus on October 8, 2019, 4:28 pm

        You can always rely on any Zionist to forget international law and the UN Charter — and forgo all human decency.

      • RoHa on October 8, 2019, 9:14 pm

        “And secondly, states that participate in song contests and sing on key must by definition be worthy of statehood.”

        On the contrary, states that participate in or encourage singing of any sort are presenting a reason for denying them statehood.

  2. Misterioso on October 8, 2019, 9:57 am

    Further confirmation that “Israel” is becoming increasingly panic stricken. No surprise, especially given current events in the region and in Washington.

  3. Elizabeth Block on October 8, 2019, 11:13 am

    Where do they propose to send him? Is he a citizen of some other country? or is he stateless?

    • Jonathan Ofir on October 8, 2019, 12:44 pm

      I understand that he has a Jordanian passport – he says so in the linked interview with Glenn Greenwald.

      • Theo on October 10, 2019, 9:28 am

        Not only that, but he also works for the CIA, KGB, BND and has several different passports from them!! He plans to visit the pope and all other heads of religions who call the Holy Land a start of their beliefs. Or he is simply a man who has courage to fight for his rights, there are very few of them nowdays!

  4. Eva Smagacz on October 8, 2019, 1:06 pm

    Commentary on the English-speaking articles in Israel press suggests Gaza.

    Which means that many of Israelis will never be able to use an excuse of “I didn’t know”.

    They know about punishing, never-ending dire conditions in Gaza and they revel in it with a glee.

  5. Nathan on October 8, 2019, 2:19 pm

    Why would a person who wants to boycott Israel choose to live in Israel?

    • bcg on October 8, 2019, 5:47 pm

      @Nathan: Why would a Native American want to live in the U.S., especially given that the U.S. treats Native Americans so poorly?

      • Citizen on October 8, 2019, 9:30 pm

        Notice all those celebrities who declared they would move out of the country if Trump got elected are still here?

    • mondonut on October 8, 2019, 6:03 pm

      @nathan

      He does not want to boycott Israel, he wants to bring it down. Working from Israel is exactly where he wants to be.

      • echinococcus on October 9, 2019, 12:45 am

        Barghouti is a Palestinian, and how. He’s at home, in his own country. He has every right to get rid of any invaders, as per UN Charter.
        You guys don’t even have the right to be there.

      • mondonut on October 9, 2019, 9:45 am

        @echinococcus He has every right to get rid of any invaders, as per UN Charter.

        Please enlighten us with the specific UN Charter Articles that permit Barghouti to “get rid of invaders”. The same Barghouti who was born in Qatar, raised in Egypt, educated in the U.S. and only became a resident of Israel by way of marriage.

      • jon s on October 9, 2019, 1:56 pm

        While promoting an academic boycott Mr. Barghouti was also busy earning a degree at Tel Aviv U.

      • echinococcus on October 10, 2019, 10:20 pm

        The Nut appears to be very hard of hearing.

        He still didn’t hear that Barghouti is a Palestinian — just look at his name! He is one of the owners of the entire territory of Palestine, which is his home, as opposed to the Zionist riffraff that invaded by the force of British arms and continues to steal and commit genocide by the force of American arms and money. The invaders and their offspring are not only not at home, they are war criminals as long as they remain as colonial settlers anywhere in Palestine — no matter if they can all be tried for the crime or not.

        And you invaders, Johnny, owe him a lot more than just a university degree.

      • mondonut on October 11, 2019, 2:02 pm

        @echinococcus He still didn’t hear that Barghouti is a Palestinian — just look at his name!

        I grew up with a friend named Mikey Kelly. Obvously Irish, just look at his name! I should give him a call, he will be surprised to discover that he is an owner of Ireland.

        BTW, still waiting for your help on the specific UN Charter Articles that permit Barghouti (the owner of Palestine) to “get rid of invaders”.

      • Talkback on October 12, 2019, 3:23 am

        mondonut: “I grew up with a friend named Mikey Kelly. Obvously Irish, just look at his name! I should give him a call, he will be surprised to discover that he is an owner of Ireland.”

        This is your best delegitimization of Jewish claims to Palestine by a mile. Keep up the good work!

        mondonut: “BTW, still waiting for your help on the specific UN Charter Articles that permit Barghouti (the owner of Palestine) to “get rid of invaders”.”

        Right of self defense.
        Right to self determination.

        Are you suggesting that people don’t have a right do defend their country against an invasion which is an act of aggression?

  6. Jonathan Ofir on October 8, 2019, 3:22 pm

    Nathan, “Why would a person who wants to boycott Israel choose to live in Israel?”

    Well, first of all it’s also Palestine, and it’s only natural that a Palestinian would want to live in his or her homeland. That such a Palestinian would see it as fitting and necessary to boycott the settler-colonialist entity that oppresses them, is not strange either. Suggestions that Palestinians should just “go away” if they don’t approve of Zionist designs, are merely the advocacy of the ethnic cleansers.

    • Talkback on October 12, 2019, 3:30 am

      Jonathan Ofir: “Suggestions that Palestinians should just “go away” if they don’t approve of Zionist designs, are merely the advocacy of the ethnic cleansers.”

      I’m glad that you point out the implicite advocacy of crimes against humanity in Nathan’s pseudo moderate comments.

  7. Qualtrough on October 11, 2019, 10:05 pm

    @mondonut

    Your friend Mikey Kelly is in luck! If he has an Irish grandparent he qualifies for Irish citizenship, indeed making him a part owner of Ireland. If the Palestinians expelled in 1948 were accorded the same right almost all of them would be in line for the right to become citizens of Israel with all that entails. Great example, thanks!

    “Anyone with an Irish citizen grandparent born on the island of Ireland is eligible for Irish citizenship. His or her parent would have automatically been an Irish citizen and their own citizenship can be secured by registering themselves in the Foreign Births Register. In contrast, those wishing to claim citizenship through an Irish citizen great-grandparent would be unable to do so unless their parents were placed into the Foreign Births Register. Their parents can transmit Irish citizenship to only those children born after they themselves were registered and not to any children born before registration.”

    Source:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_nationality_law#Simultaneous_lines_of_Irish_and_UK_citizenship_for_descendants_of_pre-1922_Irish_emigrants

    • echinococcus on October 12, 2019, 12:21 am

      Qualthrough,

      “If the Palestinians expelled in 1948 were accorded the same right almost all of them would be in line for the right to become citizens of Israel with all that entails”

      What a shocking thought!
      All Palestinians (and none of the invaders) are natural citizens of Palestine.

      Which they were before there was any “Israel” and they were kicked out, and some of them were forced to become a (non-)citizens of by armed violence.

      Why on earth should they want citizenship of “Israel”, when there is no room for any “Israel” anywhere in Palestine? When they all are Palestinians with a right to be in Palestine, not in a foreign colony?

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