The US government this week denied entry to Omar Barghouti, the leader of the Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel, according to a Washington-based advocacy group who claimed the travel ban was retribution for his political activities.
The Arab American Institute (AII) said that Barghouti was barred from boarding a Wednesday flight to New York for a multi-city speaking tour in the United States, despite having a valid travel document and visa.
The AII, which coordinated Barghouti’s US visit, said in a statement that he was informed by airline staff at Ben Gurion International Airport that the US Consulate in Tel Aviv had directed US immigration services to deny his entry.
The statement said Barghouti, a resident of Acre who is married to an Arab Israeli and holds Israeli permanent resident status, was not provided an explanation for his denial of entry beyond being told it was an “immigration matter.”
“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.”