BDS founder 'permits' coronavirus vaccine invented by Israel

Founder of BDS movement: If Israel invents a vaccine for COVID-19, it can be given to those who support BDS.

Ben Ariel and JTA ,

Omar Barghouti
Omar Barghouti

The founder of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement said that if Israel invents a vaccine for the coronavirus, those who reject normalization with Israel by boycotting it can still be given the vaccine, JTA reported on Monday.

Omar Barghouti made the comments in a Facebook live Arabic-language webinar on Sunday titled “BDS and Anti-normalization: The most important strategies to fight against the deal of the century, even in the time of COVID-19.”

Barghouti said that Israel should not be allowed to use the coronavirus crisis to maintain relations with the Palestinian Authority and with other Arab states.

“If you use medical equipment from Israel — it’s not a problem. Cooperating with Israel against the virus – to begin with, we do not consider it normalization,” he stated.

The same is true of other medical breakthroughs, added Barghouti. “If Israel finds a cure for cancer, for example, or any other virus, then there is no problem in cooperating with Israel to save millions of lives,” he said.

He pointed out that “up until now, we have not been in a situation where we need Israel urgently and no one else can save us but Israel. If that will happen, saving lives is more important than anything else.”

JTA noted that the description of the webinar in the Facebook post accused Israel of exploiting Palestinian workers in the country by not offering them protection against the virus, and accused Israel of “intensifying the looting of the land and arrests, oppression and killing, while normalization continues with the Arab official system.”

The Qatari-born Barghouti is a resident of the Israeli city of Acre, and was granted a permanent residency permit due to his marriage to an Israeli Arab.

Despite advocating for a worldwide economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel, Barghouti received a Masters degree from Tel Aviv University and is currently studying for a PhD there.

In October, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri ordered the Population and Immigration Authority to prepare a legal opinion on the revocation of Barghouti’s Israeli residency.

For years, Barghouti's case has been discussed on the grounds that he could not enjoy the status of a resident of Israel and enjoy benefits while working to impose a boycott on Israel and leading the BDS movement in Israel. However, the issue was pending an amendment of the law which clarified the Minister of Interior's power to revoke residency for breach of trust.

In September, Barghouti was denied an entry visa to the UK, where he was due to speak at a number of fringe events at the Labour party conference.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) blamed his lack of a visa on “growing efforts by Israel and its allies to suppress Palestinian voices and the movements for Palestinian rights.”

Barghouti was previously refused entry into the United States because of his role as founder and chairman of the BDS movement.

Despite the fact that they advocate for a boycott of Israel, BDS supporters are often found using Israeli-made products to their benefit.

These include US Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who has endorsed BDS and was later discovered to have used Wix, an Israeli company that provides a free platform for web development, to build her website.

In 2015, the University of Denver’s branch of Students for Justice in Palestine was discovered to have used Wix to build its website meant to disseminate its call for a boycott of Israel.

Two years earlier, the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland (ZF) discovered that “pro-Palestinian” activists who promote the BDS movement against Israel had similarly used Wix to create their websites.

In 2011, when a woman in South Africa called for a boycott of a local pharmacy chain because it sold Dead Sea products made in Israel, the chain’s CEO responded with the following:

“[I]f it is your intention to boycott Israeli products, you need to be consistent if your gesture is to have any meaning. I hope you don’t use an Intel chip in your computer with which you probably wrote your e-mail because it was invented in Israel.

“I hope that you stay in good health because if you need preventative surgery against a heart attack, you will have to boycott the procedure because guess what? The stent was invented in Israel!

“Likewise, I hope you are never prescribed any patch for diabetes, to deliver medication and other drugs. If you are an asthmatic you may have to use a new type of inhaler (Spin) invented in Israel. So please check!

“Israel has given the world the system of drip irrigation which is being widely adopted in SA with water shortages like many countries. Should you boycott all fruit and vegetables grown by this method? The list that Israel has given the world is very lengthy. Check very carefully what you boycott.”