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.
Eric Alterman dismisses BDS in the NYT, saying it is a youthful fad that only obscures the underlying issues. Alice Rothchild responds that it is important because of those issues — Israeli racism, Jewish privilege, and Palestinian dispossession.
The New York Times would never run an article asking a very legitimate question, “Is Zionism racist?” But it ran a full-page to answer whether BDS is anti-Semitic. The article was surprisingly fair to BDS, including the explanation that Israel supporters feel threatened by BDS because the call for “full equality” for Palestinian citizens would undermine the basis of the “Jewish state.”
Despite possessing a valid visa through 2021, founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti was prevented from entering the U.S. Wednesday, sparking questions if legislation circling on Capital Hill to curtail boycotts against Israel has come with a shadow policy to prevent its most vocal advocates from entering the country.
Omar Barghouti’s mother Wafieh, 75, is undergoing surgery for cancer in Amman, Jordan, later this month, but Israel is preventing Barghouti, a leader of the international boycott movement, from traveling to be with her. He says the travel ban is a punishment for his activism. “Mother, forgive me,” he writes.
Michael Sfard, an Israeli lawyer and political activist specializing in international human rights law, tells Mondoweiss it is difficult to know how Israel’s controversial new law aimed at barring boycott activists from entering the country will actually be enforced, but he says the law is in direct violation of international law. “Countries have wide discretion to allow are deny entry to foreigners,” Sfard says. “However, International Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s opinion and provides freedom of conscious and thought. The law is definitely a violation of both.”