Omar Barghouti

The AUT Boycott: Freedom vs. Academic Freedom

On May 26, the Association of University Teachers (AUT) in Britain reversed its previous decision — taken on April 22 — to boycott Israeli universities. Intimidation and bullying aside, no tool was as persistently used, abused and bandied about as much as the claim that academic boycott infringes on academic freedom. Freedom to produce and exchange knowledge and idea was deemed sacrosanct regardless of the prevailing conditions. There are two key faults in this argument. Omar Barghouti and Lisa Taraki, founding members of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), comment. 

Academic Boycott and the Israeli Left

Some of the most committed Israeli opponents of their state’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian territories have recently expressed serious reservations about, if not strident opposition to, the Palestinian call for boycott of Israel’s academic and cultural institutions. We think that their concerns are worth addressing. Almost all of the publicized reservations we have seen are prefaced with moral support for the right of Palestinians to resist the occupation – nonviolently, most would write – even by calling for boycotts to achieve that goal. 

Between South Africa and Israel: UNESCO's Double-Standards

UNESCO’s recent support for establishing a joint Palestinian-Israeli scientific organization placies the organization at odds with the decision of the Palestinian Council for Higher Education which has repeatedly rejected “technical and scientific cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli universities.” This move also conflicts with the Palestinian call for boycotting Israeli academic institutions which was endorsed by tens of the most important unions, associations and organizations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, including the Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities’ Professors and Employees. This open letter to UNESCO challenges the move. 

Slave Sovereignty: Palestinian Presidential Elections Under Occupation

Many Palestinians are boasting that they will soon enjoy, again, the most free and democratic elections in the entire Arab World. The only problem is that electing a Palestinian president while still under the boot of the occupier is an oxymoron. Sovereignty and occupation are mutually exclusive. The world, including many well-informed readers, seem to think that the Palestinian people is actually practicing the ultimate form of sovereignty by freely choosing its own president. This is easily extrapolated in the heads of many to mean that Palestinians are in a way free. So what’s all this talk about occupation? 

Boycott as Resistance: The Moral Dimension

Faced with overwhelming Israeli oppression, Palestinians under occupation, in refugee camps and in the heart of Israel’s distinct form of apartheid have increasingly reached out to the world for understanding, for compassion, and, more importantly, for solidarity. Palestinians do not beg for sympathy. We deeply resent patronization, for we are no longer a nation of hapless victims. We are resisting racial and colonial oppression, aspiring to attain justice and genuine peace. Above all, we are struggling for the universal principle of equal humanity. Omar Barghgouti presented the contents of this article at the “Resisting Israeli Apartheid” Conference at the University of London (SOAS), on December 5, 2004. 

"The Pianist" of Palestine: Reflections on Israel's ubiquitous abuse

When I watched the Oscar-winning film The Pianist I had three distinct, uneasy reactions. I was not particularly impressed by the film, from a purely artistic angle; I was horrified by the film’s depiction of the dehumanization of Polish Jews and the impunity of the German occupiers; and I could not help but compare the Warsaw ghetto wall with Israel’s much more ominous wall caging 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in fragmented, sprawling prisons. Many of the methods of collective and individual “punishment” meted out to Palestinian civilians at the hands of young, racist, often sadistic and ever impervious Israeli soldiers at the hundreds of checkpoints littering the occupied Palestinian territories are reminiscent of common Nazi practices against the Jews. 

Iman: Executing another child in Rafah

Iman al-Hams was a 13-year old refugee schoolgirl who was executed — after being wounded — by an Israeli platoon commander on the sad sands of Rafah. In a flash, Israel proved to the world — yet again — that it is not only intransigent in its patent and consistent violation of international law, but also incapable of adhering to the most fundamental principles of moral behavior. Omar Barghouti comments. 

Relative Humanity: The Fundamental Obstacle to a One-State Solution in Historic Palestine (2/2)

Israeli politicians, intellectuals and media often passionately debate how best to face the country’s demographic “war” with the Palestinians. Few Israelis dissent from the belief that such a war exists or ought to exist. The popular call to subordinate democracy to demography, however, has entailed the adoption of reminiscent population control mechanisms to keep the number of Palestinians in check. Conclusion of the two part article by Omar Barghouti, examining more of the issues relating to Israel’s unwillingness and inability to consider full equality for Palestinians and Jews in historic Palestine. 

Relative Humanity: The Fundamental Obstacle to a One-State Solution in Historic Palestine (1/2)

From the scandalous Nusseibeh-Ayalon agreement to the irreparably flawed Geneva Accords, the last true Zionists — with the crucial help of acquiescent Palestinian officials — have tried their best to resuscitate the two-state solution with the declared intention of saving Zionism. But it is arguably too little, too late. The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is really dead. Good riddance! In this article for EI, Omar Barghouti examines the largest obstacle to the success of the one-state solution.