Barghouti and BDS Movement Fight Racial Injustice

Article excerpt

OMAR Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), spoke at the 14th Street Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC on March 2, during Israeli Apartheid Week. Busboys owner Andy Shallal welcomed the capacity audience, and Head-Roc warmed up the crowd with rap songs from his album "Negrophobia!" Black Voices for Peace and U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation member Felicia Eaves introduced Barghouti, who gave a superb talk about the growth of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign and its connection to movements for social and racial justice in the United States.

"I am humbled to speak about injustice in the land of injustice," the Palestinian activist began. "Your 'not just' government is the main supporter of our oppressors." Barghouti asked if providing $3 to $6 billion a year to Israel is serving U.S. interests, or if that money could be put to better use at home.

"You had apartheid in the United States longer than they had it in South Africa-they just gave it a new name," he pointed out.

Barghouti compared the Israeli occupation with the colonization, death and destruction of Africa. Both colonizers used the biggest weapon, "the cultural bomb," which annihilates belief in one's native language and heritage. It creates a wasteland of non-achievement, despair, despondency and a collective death wish. This oppression tries to "crush our identity and hope," Barghouti charged. During its establishment Israel committed a "cultural massacre," destroying tens of thousands of Palestinian books in an effort to "Judaize" the new nation.

Israel preaches freedom and practices slavery, Barghouti warned. The Israel Defense Force is the country's melting pot, and as such is reflective of larger Israeli society. In the army Israeli youth undergo a "radicalization process" where they're taught that Palestinians are not persons with human rights. …

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