The pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement yesterday accused Israel of a plot to “silence” one of its founders, Omar Barghouti.
The accusation came after Barghouti and his wife, Safa, were arrested by Israeli tax authorities from their Akka home on 19 March.
Barghouti is accused of concealing more than $700,000 of income from international speaking engagements and Ramallah-based ATM company, according to reports in the Israeli press.
The BDS movement said that the charges were “fabricated” and that the aim of the investigation was “repression”.
“The fact that this investigation includes a travel ban and that it comes a few weeks before Omar Barghouti is scheduled to travel to the U.S. to receive the Gandhi Peace Award jointly with Ralph Nader in a ceremony at Yale University proves its true motive.”
Barghouti was bailed after his initial arrest, but the statement said that he had been interrogated repeatedly in the days following.
A request for comment on the case to the Israeli tax authorities was not returned.
Barghouti has previously been subject to a travel ban by the Israeli authorities. The Minister of Interior has also threatened to strip him of his permanent residency status in Israel.
At an anti-BDS conference in Tel Aviv in March 2016, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz called for “targeted civil eliminations” of prominent BDS activists.
The BDS movement describes itself as a Palestinian-led movement aimed at “freedom, justice and equality.”
The Israeli government describes the movement as a “strategic threat” to Israel, and has linked it to antisemitism, a charge the organization denies.
The organization pledged to carry on its work, despite the case against one of its founders.
“No matter what extreme measures of repression Israel wields against the BDS movement or its human rights defenders and vast network of supporters, it cannot stop this movement for human rights.”
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