Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) publicly expresses its solidarity with BDS movement co-founder and human rights leader Omar Barghouti, whom the Israeli government has threatened and intimidated for years, culminating in the most recent attacks on his rights.
Bargouti and his wife, Safa, were recently interrogated over a period of four days — including 16 hours on the first day — based on allegations that Bargouti had avoided paying certain taxes. The BDS National Committee (BNC) issued a statement asserting that “the Israeli government has resorted to fabricating a case related to Omar’s alleged income outside of Israel to tarnish his image and intimidate him.” In addition to this questionable investigation, Barghouti is being banned from traveling abroad, just weeks before he is scheduled to receive the Gandhi Peace Award with Ralph Nader in a ceremony at Yale University.
IJV believes that this treatment of Barghouti is yet another example of the increasingly anti-democratic state practices of repression against Palestinians by Israel. Barghouti’s treatment must be seen in the context of the current situation in Israel/Palestine, and the movement for Palestinian rights abroad.
International support for BDS is growing daily — including in Canada, where a recent EKOS poll indicates that 66% of Canadians are receptive towards the Canadian government imposing sanctions on Israel, and 78% of Canadians regard the Palestinians’ call for BDS to be “reasonable” — as Israel’s regime continues to move further to the Right.
Israel, in response to this growing support for Palestinian rights, has devoted significant resources to silencing BDS activism both at home and abroad. After labelling BDS as a “strategic threat,” Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs established a “dirty tricks” unit aimed at neutralizing this so-called “threat.”
Barghouti has also been the subject of physical threats by Israeli government ministers, including their promotion of “targeted civil elimination”(understood in Israel as civil assassination), which Amnesty International has publicly condemned as a tangible threat to Barghouti and fellow Palestinian human rights defenders.
Israel’s mistreatment of Omar Barghouti is a testament to the growth and effectiveness of the BDS movement. The nature of the Israeli state is being exposed through the movement’s growth, and human rights advocates around the world are better able to take peaceful measures in support of justice and peace. Globally, more and more people are calling for a just and lasting peace based on human rights, freedom and equality for all.
IJV is proud to be a part of this burgeoning movement.