3 April 2017
We, as members of a Rome network of groups and associations, known as the Rete Romana di Solidarietà con il Popolo Palestinese, wish to send you our solidarity and support in the face of the recent acts of intimidation and repression you and your wife Safa have undergone at the hands of Israeli authorities.
This latest attempt to silence you and taint your reputation merely represents yet another desperate move by Israeli authorities in response to the growing BDS movement, which they now consider to be a “strategic threat”. The fact that the Israeli government publicized the inflammatory fabrications against you just 24 hours after you were taken in for investigation shows that the investigation’s real goal was decidedly that of tarnishing your reputation and thus that of the BDS movement.
However, the current investigation, which included a travel ban that prevented you from receiving the Gandhi Peace Award jointly with Ralph Nader in the USA, actually helped the award become more widely known. And we, too, in Rome have found that our efforts to stand against a brutal military occupation are continually met by attempts – most often successful – by local Jewish communities and the Israeli Embassy to cancel and shut down events that are related either to the BDS movement or Palestine generally, actually often have a boomerang effect because activists do not give in or up and the media therefore takes notice.
As the BNC statement makes clear: “No matter what extreme measures of repression Israel wields against the BDS movement or its human rights defenders and vast network of supporters, it cannot stop this movement for human rights.” And, importantly: “This latest desperate chapter of repression and intimidation by the Israeli government against Omar Barghouti is the strongest indicator yet of the failure of the Israeli regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid to slow down the impressive growth of the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.”
Israel’s indirect measures will not stop us, as we know that its more direct actions against you will not stop you. Some of us had the opportunity to hear you speak in Rome a few years ago; the conviction, pure sense of purpose, and the clarity of thought and expression you showed was inspirational. As endorsers of the BDS movement, we stand firmly in solidarity with you and will continue to work as best we can against Israel’s apartheid regime and for freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.
Rete Romana di Solidarietà con il Popolo Palestinese