Israel imposes severe travel restrictions on BDS leader

barghouti carleton 2009

Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the international movement to boycott Israel spoke at Carleton University in 2009. He regularly travels to Europe and the USA. But Israeli authorities have just imposed restrictions on Barghouti, barring him from travelling outside Israel.

Israel has refused to issue a travel permit to Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel, saying that his residency rights in Israel are currently being reconsidered.

As the child of Palestinian refugees, Barghouti was born in Qatar. He married a Palestinian citizen of Israel and moved back to Israel in 1994.

He has “Israeli residency” but Israel has not made him a citizen, and when he travels abroad, he must get special permission from the Israeli government.

barghouti with cdn group 2015

Barghouti regularly meets with visiting delegations. Here with a Canadian group in Ramallah in 2015

He was invited to give a presentation at Stanford University in the USA in April but Israel would not issue the necessary papers.  Instead he was forced to speak to the conference through a video presentation using Skype which has now been viewed by hundreds across North America.

A number of international human rights organizations have raised their voices in protest. Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch told The Electronic Intifada that “Israel’s refusal to renew Barghouti’s travel document appears to be an effort to punish him for exercising his right to engage in peaceful, political activism, using its arsenal of bureaucratic control over Palestinian lives.”

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace, stated “Denying Barghouti’s right to movement is another dangerous escalation of intimidation by the Israeli government against Palestinian human rights activists.”

Israel has become increasingly rattled by the growing strength of the BDS movement and Barghouti has been one of its most effective spokespersons. The move comes only a few weeks after an Israeli cabinet minister darkly hinted in a public meeting that Barghouti should be treated like a terrorist. The implication in trigger happy Israel was all too clear.


Comments?  Why is Israel restricting Barghouti’s travel permissions? Is this as ominous as some believe? Should the Canadian government do something about this?   Or are the concerns exaggerated? All opinions, respectfully voiced, are welcome.


  1. Just more evidence that Israel will function without regard for human rights when it suits their ends.Eventually Israel will be forced to determine if it is in reality a democracy for in many respects it currently is not.

  2. This is very omnious. Who knows what Israel may do ? Restricting travel permission to Mr. Barghouti for a peaceful Mouvement like BDS is a Human Right Violation. Our Government should stand up to this sort of bullying. ====Fethia Date: Sat, 14 May 2016 16:07:47 +0000 To:

  3. It’s obvious Mr.Barghouti has been quite successful in efforts to pursue a non-violent means of countering a government that is at odds with most of the world. One has to wonder however, if he would even be allowed to return to Canada given our government’s total collapse of a balanced, independent stance on the middle east.

  4. Let us not forget our parliament’s vote on BDS which only encouraged this kind of action and the thinly veiled call to assassination of Omar B. by Israeli Cabinet ministers.

  5. The imposition of travel restrictions on Omar Barghouti by Israel has actually brought more attention to the discriminatory treatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli government, thereby legitimizing the importance of the BDS movement. Only those at Stanford would have heard his talk if he had not been prevented from travelling, but now the YouTube video makes the information available to the entire world. Way to go Prime Minister Netanyahu!!!!

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