BDS Spokesman: Goal of Movement is End of Jewish State

June 18, 2020

By Aaron Kliegman

Omar Barghouti, a prominent spokesman for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, said recently that, if the movement achieves its goals, then the Jewish state will cease to exist.

Barghouti explained the BDS movement’s endgame in an interview with the Gazan Voice Podcast recorded on May 21, according to the Jewish News Syndicate.

“If the [Palestinian] refugees return to their homes [in Israel] as the BDS movement calls for, if we bring an end to Israel’s apartheid regime and if we end the occupation on lands occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, what will be left of the Zionist regime?” Barghouti mused in Arabic. “That’s the question. Meaning, what will the two states be based on?”

The spokesman, who supports a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was referencing the BDS movement’s stated aims: To end Israel’s so-called occupation of the West Bank, to achieve “full equality” for the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and to achieve the right of return for the Palestinians.

Regarding the right of return, the United Nations uniquely classifies Palestinians, and no other people, as refugees at birth — even if they are born in wealthy, Western countries and never fled persecution. The right of return, therefore, would mean that not only all the Arabs who were displaced following Israel’s founding could settle in Israel, but also all their descendants.

So, the number of Palestinian refugees keeps growing, and today it is well into the millions. The BDS movement seeks to flood Israel with these refugees, making Jews a minority and putting them at the mercy of Palestinians, many of whom reject the existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Barghouti alluded to this point on the podcast.

“There will be two states: One democratic for all its citizens here [Palestine] and one democratic for all its citizens there [Israel],” he said. “The Palestinian minority will become a Palestinian majority of what is today called Israel.”

Barghouti has made this same point in the past, explaining that, if “the refugees were to return, you would not have a two-state solution; you’d have a Palestine next to a Palestine.” He has also said that a return of refugees “would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.”

The spokesman echoed the latter claim last month on the podcast, saying, “International law and the right of return? There won’t be any Zionist state like the one we speak about [in present-day Israel].”

The American Jewish Committee lambasted the BDS movement following Barghouti’s latest remarks.

“We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The campaign to boycott Israel, known as the BDS movement, openly seeks Israel’s destruction,” the group tweeted. “Don’t believe us? Ask the guy who started it.”

Many media outlets, other organizations, and pro-Israel writers have described Barghouti as a co-founder of the BDS movement. However, as Gerald Steinberg, president of the think tank NGO Monitor, has explained, Barghouti did not actually start the movement. He is a spokesman and one of the movement’s most prominent public faces, but not a co-founder.

Barghouti was also educated in Israel. Following his latest comments, one pro-Israel blogger, David Lange, sarcastically tweeted, “If Omar Barghouti achieves his goal of the destruction of Israel, will his master’s degree in philosophy from Tel Aviv University still be valid?”

Lange was joking, but it is unclear whether Barghouti considers an Israeli education legitimate, as he has described Israel as an illegitimate country.

“Definitely, most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine,” Barghouti said in 2014. “No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”