Middle East

US denies entry to Palestinian campaigner Omar Barghouti for Israel boycott

The United States has denied entry to a prominent Palestinian activist who urges boycotting Israel, as a US official on Thursday equated his pressure campaign with anti-Semitism.

Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, was not allowed to board a plane Wednesday for a speaking tour that was to include Harvard University, New York University and a left-leaning synagogue in Chicago.

“Israel is not merely continuing its decades-old system of military occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing,” Barghouti said in a statement. “It is increasingly outsourcing its outrageous, McCarthyite repression to the US and to xenophobic, far-right cohorts across the world,” he said.

Barghouti added he had also planned during the trip to attend his US-based daughters wedding, saying: “I am hurt, but I am not deterred.”

The Arab American Institute said that Barghouti had a US visa valid through January 2021 but was informed by airline staff at Tel Avivs Ben Gurion airport that US authorities had issued instructions denying him the right to travel.

State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said that the United States does not explain individual visa decisions.

But without explaining why Barghouti was rejected, Palladino said: “US law does not authorize the refusal of visas based solely on political statements or views if those statements or views would be legal in the United States.”

The BDS movement has infuriated Israel by calling for economic, cultural and academic boycotts of the Jewish state, including not buying products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as a way to press Israel to address the plight of Palestinians under occupation.

Elan Carr, the new US envoy to combat anti-Semitism, also said he could not discuss Barghoutis case but branded the BDS movement anti-Semitic.

“An individual has a right to buy or not buy what they please. However, if there is an organized movement to economicRead More – Source