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Interview with Omar Barghouti, BDS, Israel [Glenn Greenwald / Intercept]

May 16, 2016

A topic I kindof prefer to stay away from is Israel and its relationship with Palestinians, because debaters tend to push it to extremes. But here is this, sort-of a minor development but a mark of where things are, as Israel develops into a right-wing society, repressive to many of the residents within its extended borders.

Omar Barghouti is a Palestinian, Jordanian citizen, Israeli permanent resident, and co-founder of BDS [wiki] [BDS website], the nonviolent movement to Boycott Divest and Sanction Israel, with the goal of implementing civil rights and human rights for Palestinians as required by the UN General assembly. The term BDS comes from a similar non-violent international movement (1960s – 1990s), which successfully put pressure on South Africa to end Apartheid [wiki].

As BDS begins to gain traction, Barghouti has recently been denied his right to travel internationally, so… interview.


I was surprised to hear that entirely ordinary and peaceful criticism of Israeli policy, in the form of advocating BDS, whose goals are in line with the standard UN definition of human rights, is now being criminalized in some places (e.g., France). This is way over the line into big-brother territory, so I am relaxing my reluctance to cover this topic.

As far as the present US elections are concerned, both R and D parties tend to reflexively support anything the Israeli state wants, for “big picture” reasons similar to how both R and D parties have historically supported anything the Saudi state wants. Both Clinton and Trump took turns going to AIPAC doing the usual pandering. Sanders stood out by not attending AIPAC, and instead made some very polite but nevertheless significant acknowledgments that Israel can’t just do anything it wants to Palestinians living on land it controls.



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