News and Commentary

WOW: U.S. Denies Entry To Founder And Leader of BDS Movement

On Thursday, Omar Barghouti, a Qatari-born Palestinian-Arab best known as a co-founder and international 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, attempted to board a flight from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport to the United States. Barghouti was scheduled to make stops at various U.S. universities, meet with federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and also attend his daughter’s wedding.

But in a stunning move, U.S. immigration authorities did not allow Barghouti, who has the same name and comes from the same family as someone described by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs as “a famous Hamas leader in the West Bank,” to board the U.S.-bound flight.

NPR reports:

The U.S. government has denied entry to Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, which urges boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel on security and settlement policies in the West Bank.

Barghouti was at Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel on Wednesday when airline staff informed him that he wouldn’t be flying despite holding valid travel documents, according to the Arab American Institute, a Washington-based advocacy group that arranged the trip. He was told that U.S. immigration officials had ordered the U.S. consul in Tel Aviv to deny him permission to enter the United States. …

A State Department official told NPR, “Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which handles Israel’s fight against the BDS movement, said it had no connection to the matter. And Israel’s Interior Ministry said it had no knowledge of the U.S. action.

Barghouti has faced difficulties traveling outside of Israel, in the past. According to The Times of Israel, “Israel has barred Barghouti from leaving the county a number of times in recent years, by refusing to renew travel documents granted to Palestinian residents of Israel who do not have full citizenship.”

The BDS movement has long had strong ties to genocidal jihadist groups that seek Israel’s complete annihilation. In a remarkable government-issued report in February, Israel elaborated upon these ties. The Daily Wire reported about the report, at the time:

On Sunday, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy made public a lengthy new document entitled, “Terrorists in Suits: The Ties Between NGOs Promoting BDS and Terrorist Organizations.” As stated on its first page, Israel released the report in order to demonstrate “[h]ow terrorists came to hold key positions in NGOs promoting the Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign against the State of Israel; and how, through these NGOs, they exploit Western governmental funding, philanthropic foundations, financial platforms and civil society to advance their goal of dismantling the State of Israel.”

NGOs, or non-governmental organizations, are hotly contested in the Israeli public discourse. Anti-Israel NGOs are so widespread that an entire Jerusalem-based organization, NGO Monitor, exists to thwart their pernicious agitprop. Last week, for example, The Daily Wire reported on anti-Israel NGO Amnesty International’s economic campaign to cripple Israel’s thriving tourism industry.

In perhaps the most jarring entry in the 80-page report’s introductory “Main Findings” section, the Israeli government concludes that, “Hamas and [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)] operatives have infiltrated and adopted seemingly benign NGOs in the Palestinian Authority, Europe, North America and South Africa, for the purpose of advancing their ideological goal: the elimination of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Moreover, it appears that terrorist organizations view NGOs in the West as a convenient means for raising funds which they could not otherwise obtain.”

It seems that, at least on this particular issue, the Trump administration indeed has its immigration enforcement priorities in order.