January 18, 2020

BDS Founder Unable to Obtain UK Visa to Speak At Event

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Omar Barghouti, the founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, is currently having difficulty obtaining a visa to Britain for a speaking event.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), a pro-BDS organization hosting a Sept. 22 event in Brighton featuring Barghouti as a speaker, announced on Sept. 20 that there is an “unexplained, abnormal delay” in Barghouti obtaining a travel visa to enter Britain.

“The unprecedented delay in processing Barghouti’s travel visa application by the British government is part and parcel of the growing efforts by Israel and its allies to suppress Palestinian voices and the movements for Palestinian rights,” the PSC said in a statement. Barghouti will be speaking at the event through a video stream instead.

The statement quotes Barghouti as saying, “They fear our shining a light of truth that reveals their lies. They dread our tireless quest for freedom, justice and equality.”

Barghouti was similarly blocked from entering the United States in April; he was not given a reason why.

He is scheduled to speak at the “Palestine in the Age of Trump” event alongside Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, Labour Friends of Palestine Lisa Nandy and trade union leaders Josie Bird and Len McCluskey. They are all Labour Party politicians and supporters of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The “Palestine in the Age of Trump” event is taking place at The World Transformed, a festival operating alongside the Labour Party conference from Sept. 21-24.

Barghouti, who lives in Israel, has rejected “a Jewish state in any part of Palestine” and has called for Palestinians to use “violent means” to “resist” the Israeli government. The Stop Antisemitism watchdog tweeted, “Barghouti, who advocates for the removal of 7 million #Jews from Israel, is crying about being denied a visa to the #UK … mmm perhaps try not being a genocidal maniac?!”