Co-founder of BDS says US entry ban politically motivated

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Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights defender and a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement for Palestinian rights, said a US ban on his entry into the United States is ideologically and politically motivated.

Barghouti was told at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday as he was getting ready to travel to the US on a speaking tour and to attend his daughter’s wedding that he has been denied entry into the United States despite having valid travel documents.

“This US entry ban against me, which is ideologically and politically motivated, is part of Israel’s escalating repression against Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights defenders in the BDS movement for freedom, justice and equality,” he said in a statement. “Israel is not merely continuing its decades-old system of military occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing; it is increasingly outsourcing its outrageous, McCarthyite repression to the US and to xenophobic, far-right cohorts across the world.”

Barghouti accused supporters of what he described as Israeli apartheid in the US of being “desperately trying to deny US lawmakers, media, diverse audiences … of their right to listen, first-hand, to a Palestinian human rights advocate calling for ending US complicity in Israel’s crimes against our people.”

The ban also denied the BDS co-founder the right to attend his daughter’s wedding.

“One thing that this ban deprives me of and that I cannot compensate is the right to be at my US-based daughter’s wedding. I am hurt, but I am not deterred,” he said.

Barghouti said in a radio interview today that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the largest US civil rights defender, has adopted his case and is trying to reverse the ban on his entry to the US.

Israeli had previously restricted Barghouti’s travel due to his role in BDS by not renewing his travel document. However, following an Amnesty International intervention and call on Israel to end its travel ban on Barghouti, he was issued an Israeli travel document.

BDS describes itself as a movement working “to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”

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