U.S. Denies Entry to BDS Founder Omar Barghouti

Barghouti, who was headed for a speaking tour and his daughter's wedding, was denied before boarding a flight in Israel's Ben Gurion Airport

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS Movement for Palestinians, poses for a photo in Ramallah, West Bank, January 20, 2019.

The U.S. government denied entry to co-founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement Omar Barghouti on Thursday. 

Airline staff at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport informed Barghouti that he could not fly to the United States, despite holding valid travel documents. He was told that U.S. immigration officials ordered the American consul in Tel Aviv to deny him permission to board the flight.

Barghouti was told that it is an "immigration matter," according to a statement by the Arab American Institute, a Washington-based advocacy group. They added that Barghouti often faces travel restrictions from Israel, but not from the United States.

Barghouti was set to attend his daughter's wedding, who lives in the United States. He was also set to speak at Harvard, New York University and a Philidelphia bookstore owned by Marc Lemont Hill, whose contract at CNN was terminated last year over his support for Palestinian rights. 

Barghouti is a permanent resident of Israel. He was born in Qater and his wife is an Arab citizen of Israel. Barghouti holds a master's degree from Columbia University, a philosophy degree from Tel Aviv university and had lived in the United States for a decade in 1980s. In 2017, Israel arrested Barghouti on suspicion of tax evasion.

In February, the U.S. Senate voted to passed anti-BDS legislation encouraging states to not sign contracts with supporters of boycott of Israel. 

The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem said that it does not comment on individual visa cases.