Barghouti, 51, refuses to respond to his accusers — he maintains a boycott of the Israeli media. He was willing to conduct this rare interview due to my Palestinian identity and under the condition that it be published first in Arabic, on Palestinian website “Bokra” – although it is also being published in English here on +972 Magazine and in Hebrew on Local Call, where I am a blogger. Unified trilingual anti-Zionism at its best, I must add.
Barghouti explains his choice to not speak with the Israeli media and the logic behind the more general call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel as a whole: “In every other situation of sustained oppression, human rights groups call for punitive measures against the state and its institutions, not just against a narrow component of the state that is directly connected to the injustice at hand. No one called for banning products of Sudanese companies producing in Darfur in response to the Sudanese regime’s war crimes there. Sudan as a whole was targeted.
“As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, Israel is put on a pedestal in the West, and treated as if it were above international law. BDS seeks to end this Israeli exceptionalism and criminal impunity. Israel must be treated like any other state committing similarly egregious crimes.”
BDS calls for: an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories since 1967, including dismantling the wall and colonies; an end to Israel’s system of racial discrimination against its Palestinian citizens; and respecting the UN-sanctioned, fundamental right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
“These three basic rights correspond to the three main components of the Palestinian people: those in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; those in the 1948 territory who live under Israeli apartheid, and those in exile”, Barghouti says. He insists that regardless of what shape the political solution to the conflict takes – it must be based on these principles.For those of you who don't get it, the so-called 'right of return' would bring millions of 'Palestinians' who never lived here to live in what is left of Israel, after its separation from 'Palestine,' thereby overwhelming demographically what is left of the Jewish people in its ancient land.
Some BDS activists choose to boycott all of Israel, not just companies or bodies profiting directly from the occupation. Why is that?
“The artificial and untenable distinction between Israel and ‘the occupation’ is political and ideological; it is not based on practical, legal or moral considerations. It is Israel that international law regards as the occupying power, and therefore, is the party responsible for the construction and maintenance of not just the colonial settlements, but also the whole occupation regime.
“Israel is also responsible for what even the U.S. Department of State has criticized as institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and such a system fits the UN definition of apartheid.”
But Israel’s deepest injustice, Barghouti argues, is the denial of the right of return to Palestinian refugees. Those refugees, uprooted and dispossessed in 1948, comprise 68 percent of the Palestinian people. They, too, deserve equal human rights, he insists.That ought to make it abundantly clear. The BDS movement is about destroying the State of Israel and not 'just' about reaching a 'two-state solution.' But then, if the last 15 years have shown us nothing else, they have shown us that a 'two-state solution' is about destroying Israel too.