The U.S. denied entry to anti-Israel activist Omar Barghouti on Wednesday as he tried to board a flight to America from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.
By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News
Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, will not be allowed into the United States. The American government denied Barghouti’s entry on Wednesday at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport.
“Barghouti was not provided an explanation for his denial of entry beyond ‘immigration matter,'” the Arab American Institute said in a statement to NPR.
Barghouti, who lives in Israel, was reportedly told by airline staff that he wouldn’t be allowed to fly to America, even though he had travel documents, according to the institute, which claims it arranged his trip.
The co-founder of the BDS movement was indeed told that America’s “immigration officials had ordered the U.S. consul in Tel Aviv to deny him permission to enter the United States.” The Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs denied any connection to Barghouti being barred entry to America.
While BDS’ stated goal is to “isolate” Israel culturally and economically, the movement and its adherents frequently face accusations of anti-Semitism based on their rhetoric and their single-minded focus on the world’s only Jewish state for condemnation, ignoring the host of nations with far worse human rights records, including several that have large Palestinian populations, like Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan,
Barghouti is a staunch critic of economic normalization between Israeli and Palestinian businesses, and supports the “armed struggle against Israel” according to the Meir Amit Center.
Many BDS demonstrations frequently feature extremists calling for Israel’s destruction, and Barghouti is known for spreading the movement’s propaganda in the United States and other Western countries.
On Barghouti’s aborted trip in April, he was set to speak at Harvard University and at New York University. His trip to the United States would also feature several meetings with lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
In March of 2017, Barghouti was arrested by Israeli authorities for allegedly failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income. Barghouti, who resides in the Israeli city of Akko, deposited money in a Ramallah bank account to hide it from tax authorities, according to the charges at the time.
Barghouti helped launch the BDS movement in 2005. He’s called for the euthanasia of Zionists in the past, quoted as saying Palestinians have the right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance,” essentially inciting violence.
BDS has incited violent protests at university campuses in the U.S., targeting Jewish students. While protests start by focusing on Israeli policy in Judea and Samaria, they often spiral into anti-Semitic rhetoric, including calling Jewish students Nazis and chanting anti-Semitic slogans, as occurred just a week ago at a BDS event at the University of North Carolina.
Recently, at the AIPAC Policy Conference, American leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties slammed the BDS movement.