The International Movement for a Just World (JUST) is deeply disturbed by the detention of Omar Barghouti by the Israeli authorities on Sunday 19th March 2017.
Barghouti who lives in the coastal city of Akka in present-day Israel is the co-founder of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which has been targeting Israel for its occupation of Palestinian land and for the injustices it continues to perpetrate against the Palestinian people. The BDS movement is beginning to have a significant impact upon citizens in various parts of the world, especially in Western Europe.
The Israeli authorities are arguing that Barghouti is being detained for tax evasion on earnings amounting to USD 700,000. The BDS National Committee has accused the Israeli government of ” fabricating a case” against the well-known and well respected activist. Some independent observers concur.
It is a fact that Barghouti has been subjected to all sorts of threats in the past by Israeli leaders. In 2016 he was slapped with a travel ban. The Israel government has pressured foreign governments and legislatures to restrict BDS activities in their countries and Israeli intelligence services have conducted ” black operations” against the movement.
As one of the leaders of the BDS movement, Barghouti has been an effective spokesperson for the Palestinian cause. His lucidly articulated views are listened to avidly even by those who are not sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle. This is why he has been made to pay the price.
JUST demands that Barghouti be released immediately and unconditionally. Israel cannot claim to be a democracy and yet detain peaceful dissidents with a proven commitment to democratic values and principles. When Israel punishes people like Barghouti it exposes yet again its true character — that it is an unscrupulous State without an iota of conscience.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar,
International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
25 March 2017.