United States denies entry for Palestinian boycott activist

by Sydney Caron

A Palestinian boycott activist was denied entry to the United States by the Trump Administration on Wednesday according to New York Times.

(Photo: Rob Stothard)

The activist, Omar Barghouti, is a cofounder of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, also known as BDS. The movement promotes economic pressure on Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. According to the Times, “The movement has increasingly come under fire in the United States, with some 27 states passing laws that punish companies or individuals who support the boycott.”

Rights groups claimed that the denied entry from the United States was driven by the Trump administration as a way to silence Palestinians. Barghouti was attempting to enter the United States to speak at several events organized by the Arab American Institute in Washington. These events were taking place at Harvard University and New York University. He was also planning to attend his daughter’s wedding in Texas the following weekend.

Barghouti said, “This U.S. 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.” Barghouti was looking to put an end to the United States being associated with Israel who has been committing crimes against Palestinian people.

Barghouti was boarding a flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Washington when he was stopped by airport staff. He was told that the staff had been given information as to why he should not be allowed on the flight and that it was an immigration issue.

Many critics argue that the laws against supporters of the B.D.S. movement are unconstitutional and restrict individuals of free speech. The Senate has recently passed a bill that gives all states the right to adopt anti-BDS laws. Former President Jimmy Carter disapproved of the anti-B.D.S. laws, and encouraged the House of Representatives to reject the bill.

James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute, referred to Mr. Barghouti as a “leading Palestinian voice on human rights.” He also said, “The denial of entry is the latest example of the Trump administration’s disregard for those rights. It is clear this arbitrary political decision is motivated by this administration’s effort to silence Palestinian voices.”

Israel has also denied the entry of Barghouti into the country. Despite being told his denied entry to the United States was due to immigration reasons, he had a visa for the United States that was valid through January 2021.

 

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