As I reported last week, the United States recently denied entry to Omar Barghouti — the co-founder and leader of the inherently anti-Semitic “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” movement that incites economic warfare and sundry other forms of “lawfare” against the world’s only Jewish state. Barghouti, born in the Muslim Brotherhood-cozy state of Qatar and hailing from a prominent Hamas-linked Palestinian-Arab clan, was scheduled to make stops at various northeastern U.S. universities, meet with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and also attend his daughter’s wedding in Texas.
Some on the Left — buttressed by some of the usual suspects on the virtue-signaling Right — have seen fit to condemn the United States’ denial of entry for Barghouti. Consider far-left New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg:
In recent years, the American right has presented itself as a champion of free expression. Conservatives are constantly bemoaning a censorious campus climate that stigmatizes their ideas; last month, Donald Trump signed an executive order on campus free speech, decrying those who would keep Americans from “challenging rigid far-left ideology.” The president said, “People who are confident in their beliefs do not censor others.”
If that last line is true — and, uncharacteristically for Trump, I think it is — it says something about the insecurity of Israel’s defenders.
Goldberg’s right-of-center colleague Bret Stephens, who previously served as editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, agreed with her on the allegedly illiberal nature of Barghouti’s denial.
There are a few points to make about this kerfuffle.
Let’s start with a bit of law. Although neither Goldberg nor Stephens questions the president’s inherent constitutional and statutorily delegated authority to deny entry to any alien whose presence he deems to be against the national interest, it is worth re-emphasizing the unambiguous nature of that authority. Consider this brief excerpt from Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion in last Supreme Court term’s Trump v. Hawaii decision (i.e., the “travel ban” case):
The [Immigration and Nationality Act] establishes numerous grounds on which an alien abroad may be inadmissible to the United States and ineligible for a visa. See, e.g., 8 U. S. C. §§ 1182(a)(1) (health-related grounds), (a)(2) (criminal history), (a)(3)(B) (terrorist activities), (a)(3)(C) (foreign policy grounds). Congress has also delegated to the President authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens in certain circumstances. The principal source of that authority, § 1182(f), enables the President to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens” whenever he “finds” that their entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
Indeed, as Roberts also writes about § 1182(f), the statute “exudes deference to the President in every clause.” The denial of entry to an alien seeking to arrive in the United States is a discretionary judgment call for the Executive Branch.
So the United States’ denial of entry for Barghouti is unquestionably legal. After all, the United States is a sovereign nation and, in the 2012 Supreme Court case of Arizona v. United States, Justice Antonin Scalia properly described “the power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there” as “the defining characteristic of sovereignty.”
The only question, then, is whether the Executive Branch properly made a discretionary judgment call that Barghouti’s arrival in the United States would, in the aforementioned language of § 1182(f), “be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
The answer to this question is, very clearly, “yes.”
The extended Barghouti clan has engaged in serial jihadist attacks against Israel and against Israeli Jews. In December, Saleh Barghouti was killed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) after he waged a vicious jihadist attack. As is standard IDF practice, the terrorist’s home was destroyed — as the case may be here, just within the past 24 hours. The IDF noted as much on Twitter today:
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs speculated at the time that the Barghouti clan was teaming up in earnest with Hamas, the Sunni jihadist group that governs the Gaza Strip and is also active throughout Judea and Samaria. And The Jerusalem Post also elaborated upon the true nature of the extended Barghouti family:
Saleh was the most recent member of the prominent Barghouti clan to be involved in terrorist attacks against Israel. …
Saleh’s father, Omar, 65, spent more than 25 years in Israeli prison for his role in terrorism. The father was first arrested by the IDF in 1978 for killing an Israeli citizen and was sentenced to life in prison. However, Omar, who is known as Abu Asef, was released seven years later in a prison exchange. Since then, he has been repeatedly held in administrative detention for several years. Omar entered Israeli prison as a member of Fatah, but later became a prominent leader of Hamas.
A clan member also named Omar Barghouti is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel and co-founder of [BDS]. Omar was born in Qatar.
But not only is the broader Barghouti clan closely linked to Hamas and jihadist attacks against Israel. Omar Barghouti himself is a co-founder and leader of a facially anti-Semitic global movement, BDS. BDS is, by definition, “anti-Zionist”; and, as I wrote last month, “anti-Zionism” was a “legitimate academic debate in the half-century between Herzl’s initial formulation and Ben-Gurion’s ultimate declaration, but…now serves as the thinnest of all thinly veiled ruses for genocidal aspirants who want to throw all the Juden into the Mediterranean.” Furthermore, insofar as BDS dunderheads apply a double-standard wherein they routinely condemn Israel’s alleged (but falsely characterized) “occupation” of Judea and Samaria but ignore (actual) clear-cut occupations such as Turkey’s continual presence in Northern Cyprus, they are engaging in the very Jew-hating hypocrisy that the U.S. State Department has long deemed to be anti-Semitic in nature.
But don’t take it just from me. Take it from Barghouti himself — the man has expressly and unequivocally called for Israel’s destruction and has routinely apologized for Palestinian-Arab jihad waged against Israeli Jews.
In a 2014 talk at UCLA, Barghouti denied that Jews have any right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. In a seminal 2013 speech, he could not have been more explicit about his desire to see Israel wiped off the map: “Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.” He has called Zionism “a patently racist ideology that has served to enable and justify the ethnic cleansing of most of the indigenous people of Palestine.” And during the Second Intifada, which claimed the lives of roughly 1,000 Israelis and injured thousands more, Barghouti characterized the sustained jihad as merely being “the heroism and costs of the resistance.”
Omar Barghouti is a vile anti-Semite whose constant apologia for genocidal jihad and calls for the destruction of a core United States ally make him no friend whatsoever to the republic. It is the responsibility — indeed, the duty — of any sovereign nation to deny entry to such noxious alien miscreants. The Trump Administration was absolutely right to deny entry to Barghouti last week.