Action Alert: US delays visa for BDS leader Barghouti on eve of tour

Sponsors of a US speaking tour featuring boycott, divestment and sanctions movement leader Omar Barghouti call on supporters to contact the US Consulate in Jerusalem and the Department of State to fulfill US promise of “Promoting the Global Marketplace of Ideas” and grant Barghouti’s visa:

Effectively canceling a planned speaking tour, the US 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 US — 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 (“Obama Administration Will Take Steps To Facilitate The Free Exchange Of Ideas Across Borders, State Department Says,” 13 January 2011).

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, at Harvard, Yale, Brown, Brandeis University, and in 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 US-born child, whom he needs a visa to visit, currently attends college in Indiana. Between 2005-2010, Barghouti visited the US extensively without incident, on a five-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.”

Barghouti tour sponsors are calling on supporters to contact the US 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.

US Consulate:
Consul General Daniel Rubinstein
US Consulate General, Jerusalem
18 Agron Road, Jerusalem 94190
Tel.: +972 2 622 7230, Fax: +972 2 625 9270

Email: and

Department of State:
Visa Services
Public Inquiries Division

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