In recent years, Israeli human rights NGO Betzalmo has been battling to withdraw anti-Israel boycott leader’s Omar Barghouti’s Israeli residency status.
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.
As a permanent resident, Barghouti enjoys benefits granted by the State of Israel and even completed a Master's degree at Tel Aviv University. In 2005, however, he co-founded the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which calls for boycotting Israeli companies, artists and academics. Since then, Barghouti manages the global activities of this movement while residing in Israel.
Following a Supreme Court ruling, the Knesset passed a law authorizing the Minister of the Interior to revoke residency or citizenship to those who severely impair the security of Israeli citizens or with significant involvement in terrorism.
Following the approval of the law, MK Keti Shitrit (Likud) appealed to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) demanding that the law shall be applied to Mr. Barghouti, who she considers a major threat to the citizens of Israel. The Interior Minister referred the decision to the Attorney General, who failed to decide on the matter.
MK Shitrit recently pointed out the absurd situation where Israel denied entry to two Congresswomen due to their support of BDS, while allowing the BDS founder and leader to reside in Israel and receive full benefits from the State of Israel.
Following appeals from Betzalmo, AG Mandelblit has finally decided to refer the decision to Deputy AG, Ms. Dina Zilber.
Betzalmo issued the following statement: "We are pleased that the AG has finally decided, after years of appeals from Betzlamo and several MKs, including the Minister of the Interior who addressed him on the matter, to pass this decision to the Deputy AG."
"We have no doubt that the Deputy AG shall decide that anyone who harms the State of Israel will not receive benefits from it. Any other decision would ridicule and curtail Israel’s struggle against the boycott movement and the Israel’s demand from other countries to fight against it."
In a letter to Ms. Zilber, MK Shitrit wrote: "It has been brought to my attention the decision whether to revoke the BDS leader Omar Barghouti’s residency is at your desk. The global boycott movement is causing great damage to the State of Israel and poses a threat to Israeli economy and the Israeli Defense Forces. The BDS movement harms coexistence. It does not call for peace and dialog. On the contrary, it stirs up hatred and anti-Semitism throughout the world."
MK Shitrit added: "A few months ago, the United States announced that it would prohibit Dr. Omar Barghouti from entering its territory and revoked his visa, claiming that it was harming the State of Israel. It is an absurdity that the United States protects our security and dignity, but we dare not protect them, in our own country."
"Honorable Deputy AG, I urge you to exercise your authority, to weaken the power of the BDS leader, to maintain our dignity and not to let our major enemy dwell within us."