Israel Arrests BDS Co-Founder Omar Barghouti For Tax Evasion

BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti arrested for tax evasion

BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti arrested for tax evasion

Israeli authorities say they are investigating a founder of an anti-Israel boycott movement for suspected tax evasion.

It is in this context that the Israeli tax department's investigation of Omar and his wife, Safa, must be understood.

The committee said the investigation of Barghouti was part of Israel's "systematic efforts to criminalize the BDS movement, intimidate activists and stop free speech". He studied at Tel Aviv University, where he earned a philosophy degree.

Many leaders of the BDS campaign, which was launched by Palestinian groups in 2005, have publicly affirmed that they seek Israel's destruction.

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During the same conference, which was attended by European Union and USA diplomats, Israel's intelligence minister Yisrael Katz called for the thwarting of the BDS leadership, using the same Hebrew term used by the military for "targeted killing", or extrajudicial execution.

At a March 2016 conference in occupied Jerusalem, several Israeli government ministers threatened Omar and key BDS human rights defenders with severe measures, including "targeted civil elimination" - a euphemism for civil assassination.

The arrest comes after a recent build-up of pressure on BDS from the Israeli government following the passage of a law allowing pro-boycott activists to be banned from entering. The BDS activist, who is slated in April to be honored with the Gandhi Peace Prize in the United States, was ordered to surrender his passport and prohibited from leaving Israel before he was released on bail.

"The United States must make it clear that it will not tolerate any worldwide efforts to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel".

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No matter what extreme measures of repression Israel wields against the BDS movement or its human rights defenders and vast network of supporters, it can not stop this movement for human rights. The founders of this insidious initiative have openly stated that their goal is for Israel to cease to exist.The bill passed today ensures that taxpayer funds will not support this unabashed anti-Semitism, and reaffirms the strong relationship between Arkansas and Israel.

Three member states, Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands, already explicitly recognize the right to boycott Israel. The bill's language includes such condemnation, saying "Companies that refuse to deal with United States trade partners such as Israel, or entities that do business with or in such countries, make discriminatory decisions on the basis of national origin".

A campaign advocating a boycott of Israel condemned Wednesday what it called state "repression" after one of its top officials was arrested over alleged tax fraud.

The movement, launched in 2005 as a non-violent campaign to press Israel to heed worldwide law and end its occupation of territory Palestinians seek for a state, has gathered momentum in recent years even if its economic impact remains negligible.

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