Palestinian BDS proponent Omar Barghouti unable to enter US for book tour

Just on the heels of the United States’ joyous support for the Egyptian people’s movement for freedom and democracy, we have this. Here’s a press release from Haymarket Books:

Palestinian Author Kept from Entering U.S. for “BDS” Speaking Tour

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Sarah Macaraeg,
Despite Obama Administration’s Promise to Not Engage in “Ideological Exclusion” Prevalent in Bush Era

Omar Barghouti, Leading Spokesperson of the

Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) Campaign Against Israel,

Kept from Entering U.S. for Book Release Tour

Inexplicable Visa Delays Effectively Canceling Series of Events on BDS Movement

Sponsors Call on Supporters to Contact the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and Department of State
to Fulfill Promise of “Promoting the Global Marketplace of Ideas” and Grant Barghouti’s Visa

CHICAGO, IL——Effectively canceling a planned speaking tour, the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem has inexplicably delayed the granting of a visa for Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) campaign, due to tour the United States this April for the release of his new book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.

Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the book “lucid and morally compelling… perfectly timed to make a major contribution to this urgently needed global campaign for justice, freedom and peace.” Former President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel d’’Escoto Brockmann called it “timely and responsibly written by a man who understands that creative nonviolence is the only way out of the dire situation in Palestine.””
In recent years, numerous foreign scholars and experts have been subject to visa delays and denials that have prohibited them from speaking and teaching in the U.S.—a process the American Civil Liberties Union describes as “Ideological Exclusion,” which they say violates Americans’ First Amendment right to hear constitutionally protected speech by denying foreign scholars, artists, politicians and others entry to the United States.  Foreign nationals who have recently been denied visas include Fulbright scholar Marixa Lasso; Iraqi doctor Riyadh Lafta, who disputed the official Iraqi civilian death numbers in the respected British medical journal The Lancet; respected South African scholar and vocal Iraq War critic Dr. Adam Habib, and Oxford’s Tariq Ramadan, who have both recently received visas to speak in the United States after many years of delays and denials.

For the release of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, Barghouti has standing invitations for events in New York City, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Brandeis University, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. Barghouti studied, lived and worked in the United States for 11 years before permanently relocating to Jerusalem. He attended Columbia University, receiving both Bachelors and Masters degrees from the school. His U.S. born child, whom he needs a visa to visit, currently attends college in Indiana. Between 2005-2010, Barghouti visited the U.S. extensively without incident, on a 5 year visa, which only recently expired.

Barghouti’s publisher, Anthony Arnove of Haymarket Books, stated that “It’s essential authors be able to travel to promote their books and ideas, and as publishers we believe the free exchange of ideas is vital to a democratic culture. We find it frustrating that Omar’s visa is being delayed and potentially denied for political reasons and hope the Consulate will grant his visa immediately.”

Barghouti tour sponsors are calling on supporters to contact the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and the Department of State to ask them to fulfill the promise from the Obama Administration of “promoting the global marketplace of ideas” and grant Barghouti’s visa immediately.

U.S. Consulate:
Consul General Daniel Rubinstein
U.S. Consulate General, Jerusalem
18 Agron Road, Jerusalem 94190
Tel.: +972.2.622.7230, Fax: +972.2.625.9270

Department of State:
Visa Services
Public Inquiries Division

202-663-1225


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Omar Barghouti is available for interview. To arrange, contact Sarah Macaraeg at sarah@haymarketbooks.org, 312-315-8476. Barghouti is the author of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, releasing from Haymarket Books April 1, 2011.

On Facebook: Join the group “Let Omar Barghouti Be Heard” and invite your friends

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Praise for Omar Barghouti and Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions:

“No one has done more to build the intellectual, legal and moral case for BDS than Omar Barghouti. The global Palestinian solidarity movement has been transformed and is on the cusp of major new breakthroughs.”
–—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and No Logo
“I have been to Palestine where I’ve witnessed the racially segregated housing and the humiliation of Palestinians at military roadblocks. I can’t help but remember the conditions we experienced in South Africa under apartheid. We could not have achieved our freedom without the help of people around the world using the nonviolent means of boycotts and divestment to compel governments and institutions to withdraw their support for the apartheid regime. Omar Barghouti’s lucid and morally compelling book is perfectly timed to make a major contribution to this urgently needed global campaign for justice, freedom and peace.”
–—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate
“Once again Omar Barghouti delivers a conceptually lucid argument for the BDS movement that is difficult to refute. He offers a principled position accompanied by nuanced and thorough analyses, and though one may not agree with all of his claims, one is fully persuaded by the passionate clarity of his appeal. Barghouti reminds us what public responsibility entails, and we are lucky to have his relentless and intelligent analysis and argument. There is no more comprehensive and persuasive case than his for boycott, divestment, and sanctions to end the Israeli occupation and establish the ethical claim of Palestinian rights.”
—–Judith Butler, Co-director of the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California at Berkeley
“The ABC for internationalist support for Palestine is BDS. And the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israeli cruelty and injustice is gaining in significance and scope. Like the anti-apartheid movement against racist South Africa, BDS is helping to make a tremendous difference in what has been a most difficult struggle for human rights and the right of a colonized and dispossessed people to national self-determination. This inspiring book is a weapon in a noble struggle in which all right thinking people can play a part.”
–—Ronne Kasrils, former South African government minister

“This is a book about the political actions necessary to hinder and finally to stop the Israeli state machine which is operating every day to eliminate the Palestinian people.

It is like an engineer’s report, not a sermon. Read it, decide and then act.”
–—John Berger

“Essential reading for all who care about justice and the plight of an oppressed people.”

–—Ken Loach


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