Tuesday, April 4, 2017

On the campaign against Omar Barghouti

On the campaign against Omar Barghouti (by Haidar Eid) http://mondoweiss.net/2017/04/campaign-against-barghouti/

Petition: Drop the charges on Omar Barghouthi

Statement from Omar Barghouti:

Dear friends and colleagues,

Finally, I was allowed to access my email account after 12 days of being banned from doing so during the most intense phase of the ongoing interrogation I am subjected to by the Israeli authorities. The BNC statement on this issue accurately sums up this latest chapter in the Israeli regime's war on the BDS movement.

Due to a gag order, I am not allowed to delve into any facts about the case. I am thus denied the ability to even refute the vicious lies published by Israel's regime against me. I am in no hurry to do so, though, as their main objective -- attempting to tarnish my reputation and, by extension, hurting the BDS movement -- has clearly failed. Their campaign of repression has, to an extent, backfired. By preventing me from travelling to the US to receive the Gandhi Peace Award, jointly with Ralph Nader, Israel's regime has inadvertently increased the publicity around this award.

Before anything else, I read the many moving messages of solidarity that many of you have sent, and this gave me even more strength and hope to resist the McCarthyite witch hunt against me. I deeply appreciate your letters and the sincere sentiments of support that they convey. I am so grateful to everyone who wrote an article and every organization that issued a petition in this respect.

Nothing empowers human rights defenders facing political persecution like the warm feeling that there is a whole community of activists and people of conscience standing with them and carrying on the struggle no matter what.

For more than a year now my colleagues in the BDS movement and I have been warning about the "tarnishing unit" established by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs as a key organ in fighting BDS. As I have personally written and argued many times, this devious unit's key function is summed up in "digging up dirt" against human rights defenders and networks associated with the BDS movement and if no dirt is found in fabricating it.

McCarthy would be proud of his loyal heirs in Israel's regime of oppression and repression. Many of you have asked how best you can support me to face this latest persecution. My answer is, without hesitation ... more BDS!

We need to expand, mainstream and build on our many inspiring BDS campaigns, academic, cultural and economic, as the most effective way to respond to the new McCarthyism designed by Israel's regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid and exported to states where its lobby groups enjoy massive influence.

Further growing our movement for freedom, justice and equality is the answer. Highlighting and popularizing the recent, unprecedented verdict by a UN body that Israel is guilty of apartheid -- the second most serious crime against humanity in international law -- is the answer.

Countering their racism, hate, "black lists" and ugly colonial repression with our inclusiveness, categorical rejection of all forms of racism, and our boundless passion for freedom and justice is the answer. Further strengthening our principled intersectional alliances with movements for indigenous, racial, economic, social, gender, climate and other forms of justice is our loudest response to their xenophobic, far-right, fascist-leaning agenda and their draconian laws.

As they desperately attempt to sow fear and despair, to chill our free speech, to tarnish our records, and to bully us into silence, we nourish our well-founded hope with generous doses of effective, strategic, morally-consistent campaigns for justice and equality and insist on our right to freely express ourselves and to defend our rights.

As humans, we need permission from no one to pursue our inherent rights. As human rights defenders, no degree of intimidation and bullying can deter us in our passionate, nonviolent resistance to injustice, inequality and colonial slavery.

Alone, we fail. Together, we prevail. The latest savage, even irrational, attacks on our movement indicate, more than anything else, that we are indeed prevailing.

In gratitude and hope,

March 10th, 2017
Dear Excellencies, Mr. François Hollande, President de la Republique Mr.
Bernard Cazeneuve, Premier Ministre Mr. Michel Cadot, Préfet de Police de Paris

We are writing to you as Jewish citizens of the State of Israel who are opposed to the illegal and immoral practice of the Israeli governments over the years. It has come to our attention that attempts are currently underway in the city of Paris, to restrict and even ban altogether the ongoing demonstrations in support of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israeli human rights violations. It is therefore of utmost importance for us to state, as clearly as possible, that the BDS campaign is not anti-Semitic and is clearly opposed to all forms of racism. Rather than being racist, it is founded on the strong basis of adhering to international law and universally respected human rights. Only recently, on March 7th, 2017, the campaign unequivocally
stated1 that :

Adhering to the UN definition of racial discrimination, the BDS movement does not tolerate any act or discourse which adopts or promotes, among others, anti-Black racism, anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, xenophobia, or homophobia. We strongly condemn apartheid, genocide, slavery, colonial exploitation and ethnic cleansing, which are crimes against humanity that are founded on racism and racial supremacy, and we call for the right of their victims, including descendants, to full reparation. We equally condemn and stand in solidarity with the victims of other human rights violations including human trafficking, workers’ exploitation, and sexual exploitation. Furthermore, we are appalled by the false accusations made by Ms. Kosciusko-Morizet, in a letter of February 15th 2017 to Mr. Cadot, le Préfet de Police, where it is claimed that the BDS discourse amounts to hate speech.

We are clearly opposed to Israel’s grave violations of international law, including its practice of the Crime of Apartheid as defined in the Rome Statute and we are unapologetic about it. Our demand to end Israeli apartheid is a clear expression of love towards all the residents of Israel-Palestine, along with our insistence on the most basic values of equality, freedom and justice for all. It would be outrageous if France, of all states, would ban freedom of expression of its population who insist on respect of the law and on these fundamental human values which are the very foundational elements of the French constitution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

We therefore urge you to respect and protect the rights of those who challenge Israel’s severe human rights violations and to protect your French citizens who campaign on behalf of the BDS movement to be able to freely do so, without being intimidated with legal persecution or with physical threats as had happened in the past.


Ronnie Barkan
Einav Kaplan-Raz
Maya Rotem
Lia Tarachansky
Guy Davidi
Ron Merom
Lizi Sagie
Tamara Traubmann De-Colonizer
Ofer Neiman
Herzl Schubert
Michel Warschawski
Shir Hever
Lorien Newman
Stavit Sinai
Sergio Yahni
Yudit Ilany
Jonathan Ofir
Eyal Sivan
Yael Kahn
Stay Human

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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