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Palestinian Omar Barghouti Speaks in SC on Boycott, Sanctions, Divest (BDS) Campaign 1-8-12
Omar Barghouti is an author, researcher and commentator who is devoted to upholding international law and respecting human rights. He is a leading proponent of using boycott, divestment and sanctions to free Palestine from Israeli control and is often featured on Democracy Now, Electronic Intifada and other prominent outlets. Of Palestinian heritage, Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and now makes his home in the West Bank community of Ramallah. Barghouti is also a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and is currently studying for a masters degree in philosophy at Tel Aviv University. He spoke on the BDS Campaign in Santa Cruz at the First Congregational Church on Sunday January 8th 2012.
Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian political and cultural analyst whose opinion columns have appeared in several publications. He is also a human rights activist involved in civil struggle to end oppression and conflict in Palestine. Barghouti is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, PACBI. Barghouti favors BDS (Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions of the state of Israel) because "if you don't leash that mad dog, it will bite everyone".
Barghouti has consistently spoken of Israel as an apartheid state, stating: "From now on, it will be acceptable to compare Israel's apartheid system to its South African predecessor. As a consequence, proposing practical measures to punish Israeli institutions for their role in the racist and colonial policies of their state will no longer be considered beyond the pale." Also: "Characterising Israel's legalised system of discrimination as apartheid – as was done by Tutu, Jimmy Carter and even a former Israeli attorney general – does not equate Israel with South Africa. No two oppressive regimes are identical. Rather, it asserts that Israel's bestowal of rights and privileges according to ethnic and religious criteria fits the UN-adopted definition of apartheid." Barghouti advocates what he holds to be an ethical vision for a unitary, secular democratic state for "historic Palestine", present-day Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Barghouti refers to Israeli practices using Nazi Germany rhetoric: "Many of the methods of collective and individual “punishment” meted out to Palestinian civilians at the hands of young, racist, often sadistic and ever impervious Israeli soldiers at the hundreds of checkpoints littering the occupied Palestinian territories are reminiscent of common Nazi practices against the Jews."
Barghouti believes that "Israeli society is shifting very far to the right, with ethnic cleansing becoming a mainstream term that's used in academia, in the media, in parliament, in conferences."