News & Politics

BDS Founder Omar Barghouti: Kill Israel—But Let It Save You from COVID-19 While It's Alive

Workers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus, at the main market in Gaza City, Thursday, March 19, 2020. The Middle East has some 20,000 cases of the virus, with most cases in Iran or linked to travel from Iran. The vast majority of people recover from COVID-19. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

This week in a Facebook Live webinar in Arabic, Omar Barghouti—founder of the anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement—stated:

If you use medical equipment from Israel—it’s not a problem. Cooperating with Israel against the virus—to begin with, we didn’t consider it normalization.

The BDS announced normalization criteria long ago…. If Israel finds a cure for cancer, for example, or any other virus, then there is no problem in cooperating with Israel to save millions of lives.

He went on to add: “Up until now, we have not been in a situation where we need Israel urgently and no one else can save us but Israel. If that will happen, saving lives is more important than anything else.”

As the New York Times—known for being harshly critical of Israel—reported last year, Barghouti’s BDS movement is in bed with terror:

The BDS National Committee’s members, for example, include the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine. The council includes several groups designated by the United States as terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

In the world according to Omar Barghouti, then, you can work to demonize, delegitimize, and ultimately destroy Israel, and for the murder of Israelis individually—but if Israel comes along to save you in a pickle, don’t pass up the chance.

Lest there be any doubt, Barghouti himself has made his views on Israel very clear:

“[Palestinians have a right to] resistance by any means, including armed resistance. [Jews] aren’t indigenous just because you say you are….[Jews] are not a people.”

“Good riddance! The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can all move on and explore the more just, moral and therefore enduring alternative for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Mandate Palestine: the one-state solution.”

“[The one-state solution means] a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”

But Barghouti’s hypocrisy goes beyond working to dissolve the Jewish state and get its inhabitants killed while being eager to have his own life saved by that same state’s innovations.

Omar Barghouti was born in Qatar to a Palestinian family, and in 1993, after marrying an Israeli Arab woman, he moved to Israel and has lived in it ever since, holding permanent residency status. He went on to attend Tel Aviv University, earning a Ph.D. in philosophy (ethics). In 2009 a petition to get him expelled from the university for his anti-Israeli activity gained 184,000 signatures, but the university kept him on. He now reportedly lives in Acre on Israel’s coast, though some Israeli officials say his life actually centers on Ramallah in the West Bank.

In March 2017 Barghouti was arrested on suspicion of tax evasion to the tune of about $700,000, but “as of November 2019 ha[d] not been charged with any offense with regard to this arrest.” Meanwhile, Barghouti has been put under a travel ban; as the Israeli interior minister stated in 2016: “He is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner. He was given rights similar to those of a citizen and he took advantage of our enlightened state to portray us as the most horrible state in the world.”

Seemingly such conduct should make Barghouti odious even to his comrades in BDS—but there is no evidence that it does. The idea is that as long as Israel exists, you might as well make the most of it.

As it happens, Israeli scientists are working hard on a vaccine for COVID-19 that could be tested on people as soon as June 1. Amid the pandemic, Israel, having imposed restrictions quickly and preemptively, also has, so far, a particularly low death rate—seventy-one out of a population of nine million. And Israel is also providing critical assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. But don’t expect a word of thanks from Omar Barghouti.

“In every generation they rise up against us,” says the Haggadah, the two-thousand-year-old text read by Jews at the Passover meal that begins Wednesday evening. But the historical record also shows clearly that the Omar Barghoutis fall by the wayside while a people making an outsize contribution lives on.