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Statement on Israel’s Targeting of Omar Barghouti

Publication date : 2017-04-02

Montreal, March 29th, 2017

On the morning of Sunday, March 19th, 2017, Israeli tax officials barged into the home of Omar Barghouti – co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for the liberation of the besieged Palestinian people, suffocating under the yoke of Israel’s racist apartheid system- and detained and questioned Omar and his wife Sara for 16 hours on that first day. Several more days of interrogation followed.

Statement on Israel’s Targeting of Omar Barghouti

On the morning of Sunday, March 19th, 2017, Israeli tax officials barged into the home of Omar Barghouti – co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for the liberation of the besieged Palestinian people, suffocating under the yoke of Israel’s racist apartheid system- and detained and questioned Omar and his wife Sara for 16 hours on that first day. Several more days of interrogation followed.

This is nothing new for Omar Barghouti who has been subjected to threats, intimidation and whatever other forms of repression the extreme right-wing Israeli government has found fit to throw at Omar over the years. The intensity with which the government of Israel is targeting Omar Barghouti is a gauge of the success of the BDS movement against Israeli apartheid. What is more, the trumped-up charges against Omar Barghouti on a phony accusation of tax evasion follows on the heels of the damaging United Nations report confirming that Israel is an apartheid state.

Moreover, this new ‘investigation’ or rather, inquisition, includes a travel ban which comes a few weeks before Omar Barghouti is scheduled to receive the Gandhi Peace Award along with Ralph Nader in a ceremony at Yale University. Hence, the newly concocted phony charges against Omar and his wife: Israel has failed to intimidate them by threatening to revoke Omar’s permanent residence in Israel; the travel ban imposed on him has failed to stop him from carrying on his work on behalf of Palestinian human rights.

Indeed, we at PAJU had the privilege to see and hear Omar speak by way of Skype at the recent World Social Forum held in Montreal last August. Omar Barghouti was inspiring and his message of the liberation of the Palestinian people through a concerted BDS movement was greeted with a standing ovation for Omar. We at PAJU see BDS as the means not only of liberating the Palestinians, but also of liberating Israelis from the suffocating apartheid under which both live as victims and victimizers.

Let this be understood by the guardians of Israel’s apartheid system: no matter what extreme measures of repression Israel attempts to use against Omar and his wife or against the vast international network of BDS supporters, it cannot stop the BDS movement which is now irreversible. The BDS movement against Israeli apartheid is now at the same point where the BDS movement against South African apartheid was when it became irreversible.

What the government of Israel fails to recognize is that the BDS movement against Israeli apartheid stretches well beyond Omar Barghouti the man,though Omar remains the outstanding symbol of the movement as Nelson Mandela was the symbol of the vast, unstoppable BDS movement against South African apartheid.

We understand the panic of the Israeli apartheid regime as its tenets watch their system of institutionalized segregation unravel. Their reaction is the same as that of the South African apartheid regime as its supporters watched their own racialized system unravel. This is the end of Israel’s settler-colonialism and apartheid. We who support Palestinian human rights will not be intimidated by Israel’s bullying and repression. We know that we stand on the right side of history, against Israeli apartheid, against Israel’s continued ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and for freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.

Chadi Marouf, Co-President, Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU)

Bruce Katz, Co-President, Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU)

www.pajumontreal.org

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