November 22, 2014

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti to discuss new book, recent developments in Gaza

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Over the past week, the world saw a spike in attacks between Israeli forces and Hamas, resulting in many deaths and injuries.

The attacks were sparked by an antitank missile fired at an Israeli school bus on last Thursday, according to the New York Times, that critically wounded a 16-year-old boy. In response, Israel launched a series of aerial, artillery and tank fire throughout the Gaza Strip, attacks that resulted in the deaths of at least 18 Palestinian militants and civilians, according to the New York Times.

Days later, the New York Times reported that Hamas and Israeli leaders “signaled on Sunday that they were willing to restore calm after days of intense fighting,” and a tense ceasefire remains in place.

Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti will speak tonight at the University of Massachusetts about these recent developments and more in an event titled, “The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.”

Barghouti is a founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, a nonviolent movement initiated in 2005. The call to action on the BDS campaign website specifically calls for “ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantl[e] the Wall,” “recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,” “and respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

“[BDS is] a global movement with a Palestinian leadership, and it focuses on the three basic Palestinian rights,” said Barghouti in an interview on the “War and Peace Report,” a program for Democracy Now!

 

“This is often forgotten, especially here in the United States. It’s not just to end the occupation, because the 1967 occupation victimizes one-third, a mere one-third, of the Palestinian people,” he said. “Two-thirds are either refugees in exile or Palestinian citizens of Israel.”

Barghouti added, “To have a minimal kind of exercising of our right to self-determination, we would need to end the occupation of 1967, end Israel’s system of racial discrimination – so, have full equality in Israel for Jews, non-Jews and so on – and the right of return for refugees in accordance with U.N. Resolution 194. Without that, Palestinians cannot exercise our right to self-determination, and we can never have a just peace.”

The West Bank resident will also discuss his new book, “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.”

 

Though he lived in the United States for 11 years, while attending Columbia University and working in the country, Barghouti was denied a visa for several months to visit the United States and promote his book.

“I think I never had trouble until my book tour was announced. So I think it is connected to the book tour,” said Barghouti on another appearance on the “War and Peace Report.”. “There was a clear attempt to cancel this book tour. I never had any security issue with the U.S., or anywhere else, actually. So there was absolutely no excuse. The visa was issued and then delayed. Some processes came up after it was supposedly approved.”

The book is published by Haymarket Books, a non-profit, book distributor and publisher based in Chicago, Ill. In a statement on the publishing company’s website, Haymarket Editor Anthony Arnove said he believed the visa was eventually granted as a result of an “international public campaign” that lobbied U.S. government officials, members of Congress and the State Department.

“It is proof that protest works and solidarity matters,” said Arnove in a statement. “We are thrilled he is coming.”

The event will be held tonight, April 14,  in Thompson 102 at 6 p.m. The event is being sponsored by six Five College student groups, UMass’ STPEC Department and the Western Mass. Coalition for Palestine.

Michelle Williams can be reached at mnwillia@student.umass.edu.

Comments
6 Responses to “Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti to discuss new book, recent developments in Gaza”
  1. Chase says:

    STPEC did not sponsor this event.

  2. Arafat says:

    “Barghouti added, “To have a minimal kind of exercising of our right to self-determination, we would need to end the occupation of 1967, end Israel’s system of racial discrimination.”

    A couple of points…

    1) Islam is not a race. You cannot be racist against a religion, Mr. Barghouti, particluarly one with white black and every shade as members.

    2) Islam is the hate-filled religion, not Judaism. Islam is committing genocide in Sudan and also throughout the Muslim world:

    http://www.hudson-ny.org/1685/muslim-genocide-of-christians

  3. Arafat says:

    Mr. Barghouti let’s organize an annual “Arab Apartheid Week,” which would highlight the decrepit state of human and political rights throughout the Arab world.

    There is a solid case to be made that the Arab states remain the last great outpost of despotism and tyranny on earth, and people need to be reminded as much. Indeed, the Arab world today is a living encyclopedia of outmoded forms of government, from sultanates such as Oman and emirates such as Qatar, to thuggish dictatorships such as Syria and dynastic monarchies along the lines of Jordan. It may be a political scientist’s dream, but it is a nightmare for the hundreds of millions of Arabs chafing under oppression and tyranny.

    Basic and fundamental freedoms such as personal autonomy and individual rights are routinely trampled upon, and ethnic and religious minority groups suffer extreme discrimination and
    intolerance. Just ask Coptic Christians in Egypt, Baha’is in Iran or Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia for starters.

    This was borne out most recently by a report issued by Freedom House, the independent Washington-based group that advocates for freedom worldwide. Its annual survey, “Freedom in the World 2010,” would make for eye-opening reading for all those who cry “apartheid” whenever they see a flag with a Star of David.

    Consider the following findings:

    Of the 18 countries in the Middle East that Freedom House surveyed, only one is considered to be “free.”

    And just who might that be? Yep, you guessed it: Israel.

    Not a single Arab country – not one! – did Freedom House consider “free.” Three Arab states – Morocco, Lebanon and Kuwait – were labeled “partly free,” while 13 other Arab states as well as Iran merited the dubious distinction of being branded as “not free.”

    In effect, then, this means that of the approximately 370 million human beings currently residing in the Middle East, only 2 percent enjoy true freedom – namely those who live in the Jewish state.

    So much for “Israeli apartheid.”

    NOT SURPRISINGLY, in a press release announcing the report’s publication, Freedom House concluded that “the Middle East remained the most repressive region in the world.” It is this message that Israel and its supporters need to begin highlighting. By casting a spotlight on the subjugation, oppression and tyranny that typify nearly the entire Arab world, we can open some eyes out there and educate the Western public as to who really shares their democratic values.

    As Prof. Bernard Lewis has written, the Arab states are little more than “a string of shabby tyrannies, ranging from traditional autocracies to new-style dictatorships, modern only in their apparatus of repression and indoctrination.”

    An annual Arab Apartheid Week, held on campuses and at community centers, could be an effective vehicle for driving home this fundamental truth.

    Doing so will reframe the debate. More importantly, it will help Westerners to finally begin recognizing the Arab regimes for what they are: a dangerous mix of despotism and dictatorship.

  4. Hannah Gais says:

    Arafat:

    You say that Islam is not a “race.” This is, indeed correct. However, you continue to say that Islam is the hate-filled religion — not Judaism — inasmuch as “Islam is committing genocide in Sudan and also throughout the Muslim world.” Genocide, you should note, comes from the word “genos” in Greek, meaning — roughly “race.” Typically genocides are founded upon racial discrimination wherein one race forcefully attacks another. How, then, can Islam — which is not a race — be the one committing these atrocities? What atrocities occur can be committed by those who happen to be Muslim, but that does not make Islam the one “committing genocide.” Furthermore, since when does a religious body that does not have agency in and of itself have the power to commit genocide?

    I would like to note that since you bring Christians into the field here, persecution by Western groups — namely imperialist, colonialists, and missionaries — have done a tremendous amount of damage to the Eastern Christians who are forgotten group anyway. The invasion in Iraq, for instance, was devastating for the Assyrian Christians in the region.

    If you are, in fact, going to “get on your high horse,” I believe you ought to know what you are talking about.

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