On Sunday March 19, 2017, investigators from the Israeli Tax Authorities burst into the home of Omar Barghouti, the eminent Palestinian human rights activist and cofounder of the BDS (boycott,….
On Sunday March 19, 2017, investigators from the Israeli Tax Authorities burst into the home of Omar Barghouti, the eminent Palestinian human rights activist and cofounder of the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement. He was interrogated along with his wife for 16 hours. The interrogation was continued over five consecutive days.
These events took place in a context of increased repression, threats, harassment, intimidation, and attempts to delegitimize Palestine solidarity activists.
In May 2015, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had gone so far as to declare the BDS movement a strategic threat to Israel. At a conference held in 2016, Yisrael Katz, the Minister of Intelligence, had threatened the principal BDS supporters including Omar Barghouti, with a “targeted civil eliminations.” The Strategic Affairs minister has created a specialized unit whose avowed aim is to delegitimize these activists by tarnishing their reputations.
Having failed to intimidate Omar Barghouti by threatening to revoke his Israeli permanent residency (which he holds because his Palestinian wife is an Israeli citizen), and to block his activities by subjecting him to what is, in effect, a travel ban, the Israeli authorities are now attacking his image by playing up a story involving alleged unreported income from from outside the country.
We are not fooled by the Israeli government’s motivations, which are clearly demonstrated by the extensive publicity devoted to the allegations from the very first day, and the simultaneous restrictions on Omar Barghouti’s travel, just a few weeks before an expected trip to the United States to receive the Gandhi Peace Award, along with Ralph Nader, at Yale University.
We wish to reaffirm our solidarity with Omar Barghouti and with all the activists of the BDS movement. We firmly condemn the Israeli government’s harassment of these activists, as well as their efforts to silence all expressions of support for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people everywhere in the world, including France, often with the active complicity of Western governments.
Emeritus Professor, University Pierre et Marie Curie, France;
President, Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)