By Gilad Atzmon
"The Nigger accomplished his job, the Nigger is free to go,*” is a common racist Israeli adage. This is how the Israeli elite now treats Omar Barghouti. It is appalling, but not unusual.
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri told Ynet yesterday; “Omar Barghouti uses rights given to him by Israel to act against it around the world.”
Deri was one of four government ministers to participate in an afternoon question and answer at an anti-BDS conference in Jerusalem.
By law, Palestinians cannot return to Palestine. But Omar Barghouti accomplished the impossible. “Omar Barghouti,” Deri said, “was born in Qatar and received resident status in 1994 after marrying an Israeli woman from Acre and claiming his life is in Israel.”
It seems Barghouti enjoyed liberties other Palestinians and even Israeli citizens can only dream of. Not only was he allowed to return to Palestine, he lived in Ramallah and was entitled to travel freely between Israel and the PA. He travelled all around the world campaigning against the Israeli occupation. He studied at Tel Aviv University then called upon the rest of the world to boycott that university. Bizarrely, Omar Barghouti proved that Israel is a tolerant country.
Minister Deri said, “he (Barghouti) 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.”
The truth is obvious. Right wing Israeli politicians knew about Omar Barghouti’s activities all along. Israel allowed Omar Barghouti to travel around the globe and condemn the occupation. Israel allowed it because from a very early stage BDS was an Israeli controlled opposition maneuver.
For Israel, BDS presented the ideal front on which to fight. Instead of battling for a Palestinian Right Of Return, that is ethically solid and backed by UN resolutions, the solidarity movement was reduced to an internal Jewish debate over the “Right to BDS.” Instead of dealing with the acute Palestinian refugee crisis in Syria and Lebanon, our devoted solidarity campaigners gathered around their local food store to protest against gefilte fish made in Israel.
But what did Barghouti give in return? Pretty much everything.
In 2005, the BDS’s first goal demanded that Israel“End[ing] its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantl[ing] the Wall” (http://www.bdsmovement.net/call)
This represented a clear and brave challenge to the legitimacy of the Jewish State,
At some point BDS’s primary goal was changed significantly, it now reads: “Ending [its] occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall.” (http://www.bdsmovement.net/bdsintro).
How was this change adopted? Where is the protocol for such a detrimental shift of position to compromise on the most precious Palestinian principle, i.e. 1948? Who made the BDS into an instrument of legitimisation of pre ‘67 Israel? Those well versed in the ins and out of the BDS movement point to Omar Barghouti and the evidence is undeniable.
The first record of BDS’s revised and diluted goal statement appeared publicly on page 6 of Omar Barghouti’s book, “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions,” published 26 May 2011.
In 2011-2012, at the time the call for the Right of Return was gaining momentum, Omar Barghouti changed the BDS goal statement into a Zio-friendly text. Why? Why did the Palestinians allow him to get away with it? In fact, the BDS’s goal statement was only changed in English to appease so called ‘anti’ Zionist Jews. It was never translated into Arabic. It was done behind the backs of the Palestinian people and against their interests.
Then what is the Israeli fuss about now? Why threaten to revoke Omar Barghouti’s residency status. “The Nigger accomplished his Job, the Nigger is free to go.” The Israelis have precedent on that front; they never look after their collaborators and partners. The Southern Lebanese Maronite militias were left to their fate once the IDF withdrew from Lebanon. Israel often exposes its Palestinian collaborators. This demoralises the Palestinians and leaves them feeling vulnerable and infiltrated.
For Israel Barghouti, has been a win win situation. They tell the world, ‘we let this Palestinian in and he turned against us.’ So Israel threatens to revoke Barghouti’s status. Let’s assume that such an action leads to widespread international condemnation and Israel reconsiders its move and retains Barghouti’s residency status. By doing so, Israel can prove to the world how ‘enlightened’ and ‘tolerant’ it is.
I wish the Palestinian liberation movement would be left to fierce tacticians and freedom fighters rather than trusting the clumsy hands of ethnic activists who are incapable of thinking past the notion of a picket.
* In the the Israeli offensive adage "הכושי עשה את שלו, הכושי יכול ללכת" the word 'nigger' (כושי) refers precisely to a black slave.