The leading force behind the BDS movement is a Palestinian activist named Omar Barghouti. Barghouti was born in Qatar but moved to Israel in 1994. He has lived there as a permanent resident ever since.
Barghouti’s life in Israel would probably surprise most BDSers. Although he demands that the rest of the world boycott Israeli universities, he actually attends one. Barghouti is currently working on his PhD at Tel Aviv University, the same school from which he earned his master’s degree.
But Barghouti is far more than a hypocrite – he’s an extremist: Barghouti doesn’t deny that he supports the destruction of Israel. He acknowledges it.
He’s stated that:
- Barghouti opposes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 2
- Barghouti demands a one-state solution that would include the return to Israel of all of the descendants of all of the Palestinian refugees. 3 Everyone understands that this Palestinian “right of return” would open Israel’s borders to a massive immigration that would quickly overwhelm its Jewish majority and transform it from the one-and-only Jewish state into the twenty-second Arab state.
- “I know that you cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two-state solution. This is the big white elephant in the room and people are ignoring it – a return of refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.” 4
- When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recognized that Jews also have rights to the land of Israel, Barghouti joined others in accusing him of a “grave betrayal” of the “collective rights of the Palestinian people.”5
- He’s also called for the “dismantling” of the Palestinian Authority since its leaders are far too moderate for his taste. 6
The only way there will be peace between Israel and the Palestinians is if moderates on both sides are empowered to recognize the rights of the other side and make painful compromises. Barghouti seeks neither recognition of Israel nor peace with Israel. Barghouti – like the BDS movement he founded – demands nothing less than the destruction of Israel.
2 See Ali Mustafa, “Boycotts work: An interview with Omar Barghouti,” The Electronic Intifada, May 31, 2009 and Maurice Ostroff, “BDS opposes the two state solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” The Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2013.
3 See Ali Mustafa, “Boycotts work: An interview with Omar Barghouti,” The Electronic Intifada, May 31, 2009 and Maurice Ostroff, “BDS opposes the two state solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” The Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2013.
4 See Ali Mustafa, “Boycotts work: An interview with Omar Barghouti,” The Electronic Intifada, May 31, 2009.
5 Don’t deny our rights: an open letter to Mahmoud Abbas,” July 29, 2010 as printed at The Electronic Intifada.
6 Omar Barghouti, “Dissolve the Palestinian Authority,” Counterpunch, October 5, 2009.
Prominent BDS activist bios