In mid-April, the United States government denied Omar Barghouti, the founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, entry into the United States.
If you aren’t familiar with the BDS, read below to find out more.
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.”[i]
Why Did the United States Deny the BDS Leader Entry?
Details of the denial have not been made public; however, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published this on December 13, 2018…
On December 13, 2018, Israeli security forces killed and arrested terrorists who were involved in two terror attacks that horrified the Israeli public. In the Askar refugee camp near Nablus, they tracked down and killed Ashraf Naalwa, who murdered two Israelis in the Barkan industrial zone on October 7, 2018, and they shot Saleh Barghouti, responsible for the terror attack at the Ofra Junction on December 8, 2018, in the village of Surda near Ramallah.
“While Hamas was quick to announce Naalwa’s ‘martyrdom,’ they did not claim him as coming from the ranks of the Hamas’ Qassam Brigades. However, the terrorist killed in Ramallah, Saleh Barghouti, was a son of Omar Barghouti, a famous Hamas leader in the West Bank, so the Hamas fingerprints were very obvious in the Ofra attack…
“The fact that Hamas used the Barghouti family, who come from a Tanzim-Fatah area, in these attacks may suggest that Hamas and Tanzim are cooperating with each other.”[ii]
Given that the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs describes Barghouti as “a famous Hamas leader in the West Bank,” the U.S. immigration authorities seemed to be on guard by denying access.
Keep Reading to Better Understand the BDS
What Is the BDS?
The BDS is an assemblage of groups and individuals that aim to place economic and cultural pressure on Israel and is in solidarity with Palestinian activists. There are various political and economic goals within the movement, depending on the supporting groups.
Various BDS objectives include (but are not limited to):
- To voice opposition to Israel—a cultural goal
- To end Israeli occupation in the West Bank and achieve a two-state solution—a political goal
- To completely dissolve Israel and replace it with a different state that includes the West Bank and Gaza Strip—a political and cultural goal
Essentially, the boycotters attempt to put economic pressure on Israel to achieve their political and cultural goals.
Why Is the BDS against Israel?
You will likely get a different answer as to why the BDS is against Israel depending on whom you ask. Much has been reported on and written about regarding the issue. As previously mentioned, the goals surrounding the boycott are primarily to make a statement and put Israel between a rock and a hard place, forcing its citizens to compromise their rights and values.
How Does the BDS Impact the U.S. (and Other Countries)?
To get a clear picture as to how the BDS has impacted the United States and other countries, you have to first look at Israel’s ability to advance when faced with opposition.
It is well known that Israel leads the world in research and development. Much of the world cannot easily replace Israeli exports or the quality of their goods. Therefore, it doesn’t bode well for nations to completely boycott Israel’s high-tech materials, advanced machinery, and medical and pharmaceutical goods and innovations.
Because of Israel’s computer tech advancements and contributions, boycotters likely use Israeli-made products such as DiskOnKey almost daily—as one is sold every 10 seconds worldwide.
In only a few decades, Israel’s exports have become increasingly higher quality, making them harder to replace, according to the UN Comtrade Database. Some of the most successful corporations are located within Israeli borders, making a complete boycott costly for a number of countries.
More Direct Impact on the U.S.
The United States has seen an impact made on university campuses. Groups against the BDS have begun to push back, pointing out that its efforts are actually counterproductive to peace and are anti-Semitic. In 2016, President Obama signed a law that prohibited cooperation with entities involved in BDS, and several states within the U.S. also adopted their own anti-BDS laws.
Read Our Full Article about the BDS HERE!
How Did the BDS Start?
Right after Israel gained independence in 1948, Israel’s Arab neighbor—known as Egypt today—blocked Israeli shipping through the Straits of Tiran as a type of “boycott.” As a result, in 1956 Israel invaded the peninsula in hopes to communicate to its neighbors that they needed to reopen the strait for shipping.
Israel withdrew, and it was agreed the strait would be reopened. Tensions continued to grow, however, and the gates were closed again—this led to the Six Day War, which began on June 5, 1967.
During the Six Day War, Israel seized the Gaza Strip, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and the Sinai Peninsula. Israel’s victory was noticed by other nations, as the country’s well-prepared strategy and strong military had proven to be a force to be reckoned with.
The settlements along this territory have become a source of conflict between Israel and its neighbors, as well as a representation of Israel’s stance to remain a democracy and a Jewish state.
Unfortunately, hostility continued to grow after the Six Day War—perceptions were formed and actions were taken based on emotions. And in 2005, a group of Palestinian nongovernmental organizations began a campaign that is now called the BDS movement.
Read Our Full Article about What the BDS Origins Are Rooted In HERE!
A Family Impacted by the BDS | This Is Their Story
The Bitan family has three generations living on their moshav. After buying the land and moving there in the 1940s, they planted beautiful, vibrant flowers that were primarily sold to vendors in Europe.
Sadly, due to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the flowers once grown on the beautiful family farm have been boycotted. The once-lush land now stands desolate and dry because there is suddenly no market for their crops.
Some might be of the opinion that they should just move and find another way to make a living. After all, they have witnessed balloon bombs landing near their home, and they are no strangers to the whistling sounds of rockets fired near their fields.
But it isn’t that easy. This is not merely a random piece of land. It is their heritage, a connection to their hope, and it is their home. The Bitan family has longed to see their native land of Israel thrive. And their farm was, only a few years ago.
The BDS could’ve caused them to be disheartened. For a moment, their future looked as dry and desperate as the land that was right outside their family home. But they chose not to lose hope.
This family, nearly bankrupt and searching for a miracle, still held tight to the promises of God and the hope of the Messiah.
Mr. Bitan explained to us on that cool October morning that it had been his father’s dream to be a part of the prophecy that would harvest pure olive oil to be used in the coming Third Temple’s great menorah.
Can you imagine what it would be like to wait nearly a lifetime, and then finally see God unfold a part of your dreams right before your eyes?
When we met with them and heard their story, we couldn’t believe how God was orchestrating such restoration from something that seemed nearly lost. But nothing is beyond the reach of God’s sovereign hand.
To Read the Bitan Family’s Full Story and See Pictures of Their Planting, Click HERE!