Focus on Israel

Who is Omar Barghouti and why it should matter to evangelicals?

While some might accuse me of it, I take no pleasure in exposing people simply for character assassination. Naming names will accomplish nothing unless we can ethically quote the people we are exposing, using their own words to prove their hypocrisy and the danger they represent to a specific community or people group. From time to time, it is vital to expose people to the policies, philosophy or practices of certain individuals. As the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement (BDS) continues to pick up momentum globally and especially within evangelicals, it is time to get acquainted with Omar Barghouti, the man behind the movement. Even though they are related and part of the Barghouti clan, he is not to be confused with Marwan Barghouti, who is a Palestinian terrorist in jail for having killed Israelis..

In my regular speaking engagements in churches and conferences in the US and Europe, I still run into a lot of people who have never heard of the BDS movement, let alone of Omar Barghouti, its founder. It is incumbent on people of good faith in general and evangelicals, in particular, to understand and fight the BDS. That movement is responsible for a lot of damage done against Israel and the Jewish people, and yet it rests on a false premise. It is antisemitic at its core.

Omar Barghouti, seen by the world as a human rights activist, was born in Qatar, raised in Egypt, educated in the US, only to later move to Israel where he now resides. In 2004/2005, he started what was then mostly an attempt at an academic boycott of Israel and later became known as the BDS movement. Ironically, Barghouti holds a degree in Philosophy from Tel Aviv University and has even gone into their Doctoral program for a while. Are his degrees valid or should he boycott them since they were earned in Tel Aviv, Israel? This is such an obvious case of double-standards!

The original goal of BDS was clearly delineated by its creators as Alex Joffe reported in Times of Israel “The call also put forward three demands; ‘1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.’ In short, the call demanded the dismantling of Israel through the ‘right of return.’ This has not changed: the end of Israel is the core BDS goal.”

Since then, the BDS movement has picked up momentum and a lot of supporters globally in academia, entertainment, government, NGOs and churches. Their goal is the same, but it is carefully worded to attract the uneducated masses by banking on their compassion and desire for social justice. On their own site, they claim:” Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice, and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. Israel is occupying and colonizing Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law. BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Eleven years since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.”

Many of the lies of Mr. Barghouti are being exposed. According to the website Canary Mission, Mr. Barghouti (who received a degree in philosophy AND ethics,) is promoting antisemitism and terrorism. They documented many of his connections and quotes supporting terrorist organizations or re-labeling terrorist murderers as “Palestinian Resistance.” Mr. Barghouti says that people under occupation have the right to resist with or without weapons. In and of itself, that is a true statement, but are Palestinians resisting or instigating? When they say that they want to “burn the Jews” like in the Holocaust, are they resisting or instigating? Hamas will use any situation and give it the necessary spin to fault Israel and get the West’s compassion on the “poor Palestinian victims” throwing rocks and flying kites against tanks and fighter jets. They sure tried with the death of the Gaza nurse during the recent clashes and Mr. Barghouti has no problem with that! Let’s allow the man to speak for himself:

• 2006 American Association of College Professors, Bellagio, Italy. Barghouti said: “it is not the occupation of the West Bank that is the problem, but the existence of Israel itself.”

• 2009 interview on Electronic Intifada: “For more than a hundred years Palestinians have resisted with cultural and artistic resistance, strikes, demonstrations, women’s and trade union organizing, and so on. The majority of people were involved in nonviolent resistance before the inspiration of Gandhi and that of South Africa.”

• 2010 Q & A session in San Diego speaking of Israel (00:13:00):”It is the most violent entity that exists in this entire region.”

2011 at Socialism 2011 in Chicago, he compared Israel to Nazi Germany: “Do you want me to tell you what Germany had invented before the Nazis?”

2013 South North Talk in Norway: “A Jewish state in Palestine, in any shape or form, cannot but contravene the basic rights of the land’s indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically.”

• 2014 in a UCLA talk, he claimed that Israeli snipers were” shooting children for sports.”

Mr. Barghouti’s soft-spoken delivery allows him to be described as the Palestinian Gandhi or Mandela. It greatly helps his agenda. Once one listens to Mr. Barghouti’s own words, one can only conclude that this man is a promoter of hate who seeks no peace, no reconciliation and no co-existence with Jewish people in Israel. He is the man behind BDS, and BDS is an antisemitic movement only seeking the complete destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. It is very disturbing that so many people, including evangelicals, are buying Mr. Barghouti’s message hook, line and sinker, but then again, we are approaching the day when the whole world will join against Israel, and Mr. Barghouti is helping. The question is “will we help as well?” I certainly hope not, but silence and apathy always contribute to the nefarious agenda of the enemy!

 

— by Olivier Melnick

Melnick is a Jewish believer in Jesus and serves with Chosen People Ministries as the Northwest Regional Director. He has written and published over 300 articles and a book on anti-Semitism entitled, “They Have Conspired Against You: How to respond to the new anti-Semitism.” Melnick blogs regulary at www.newantisemitism.com.

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