Monday, April 17, 2017

Honor Omar Barghouti and Ralph Nader

Gandhi Peace Award Ceremony
Sunday, April 23
Yale University Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall
Room 114
1 Prospect St, New Haven, CT 06511

The Gandhi Peace Award has been presented by Promoting Enduring Peace since 1960 to people who have made outstanding contributions to world peace, creating a sustainable ecology, and social justice. Laureates include: Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, Daniel Ellsberg, Amy Goodman, Bill McKibben, Medea Benjamin, Tom Goldtooth, and Kathy Kelly.

This years honorees are Ralph Nader and Omar Barghouti.

Omar is a Palestinian human rights defender and a co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Omar has endured Israeli intimidation and repression for years due to his work and dedication. In March of 2016, he was threatened with "targeted civil elimination” -a euphemism for civil assassination- by a high Israeli government official. Amnesty International has condemned these threats, expressing concern for his “safety and liberty” and upholding his right as a human rights defender to campaign “to hold Israel accountable for human rights and other international law violations” and to advocate “for the use of non-violent means in doing so.” Israel has also threatened to revoke his permanent residence, effectively imposing a travel ban on him.

Just a few weeks ago, Israeli tax authorities barged into his home and detained and interrogated him and his wife Safa, and are now attempting to fabricate a case against him in order to tarnish his reputation.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee put out this statement in response:

The fact that this investigation includes a travel ban and that it comes a few weeks before Omar Barghouti is scheduled to travel to the U.S. to receive the Gandhi Peace Award jointly with Ralph Nader in a ceremony at Yale University proves its true motive —repression.

The fact that the Israeli government publicized the inflammatory fabrications against Omar just 24 hours after he was taken in for investigation shows beyond doubt that the investigation’s real goal is to tarnish his reputation.

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. Bullying and repression can hardly affect a grassroots movement that grows in people’s hearts and minds, empowering them to do the right thing — to stand on the right side of history, against Israel’s fanatic regime of apartheid, occupation and ethnic cleansing, and for freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.

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.

Join Promoting Enduring Peace in honoring Omar to send a very clear message that support for Palestinians and their struggle will continue until freedom, justice, and equality is achieved.

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