It was serendipitous that I found a video featuring a presentation by Omar Barghouti that dispenses with the “peace process” and “two states” completely and focuses on the ethics and mechanics of decolonization.
Barghouti refers to the work of the Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire when explaining the moral responsibilities of the oppressed, and he proposes “indigenizing” the settler-colonial population through a process of “ethical decolonization.”
“Indigenizing” the settlers
The argument escapes the common traps about “Jewish self-determination” and the “Jewish state” by outlining a path where the settler-colonial population becomes entitled to determine the future of the state through joint struggle with the indigenous community and on condition that the settlers abandon their colonial privilege.
The excerpt below is edited slightly for readability:
Accepting modern day Jewish Israelis as equal citizens and full partners in building and developing a new shared society — free from all colonial subjugation and discrimination, as called for in the democratic state model — is the most magnanimous, rational offer any oppressed indigenous population can present to its oppressors. So don’t ask for more.
Only by shedding their colonial privileges, dismantling the structures of oppression — the laws and the policies and so on — and accepting the restoration of the rights of indigenous people of the land — especially the right of Palestinian refugees to return and to receive reparations and the right of all Palestinians to unmitigated equality — only then can settlers be indigenized and integrated into the emerging nation and therefore become entitled to participate in determining the future of the common state.
I make a distinction between self-determination for Jewish settlers in Palestine, which I categorically oppose — never in history was a colonizing community ever allowed self-determination not in South Africa, not in Algeria, not in Ireland, not anywhere. Colonizers are not entitled to self-determination, by any definition of self-determination, but post-colonialism, post-oppression, after justice has happened, then we must envision integrating the former colonizers into a common nation that can determine its future. So they are part of the future determination of the state if they are indigenized.
The indigenous population on the other hand must be ready after justice has been reached and rights have been restored to forgive and accept the settlers as equal citizens enjoying normal lives, neither masters nor slaves.
Dian Kjaergaard on Barghouti:
The two Barghouti references (here and here) are priceless. To them I can add the following:
In December 2003, before the BDS movement was officially started (9 July 2005), Omar Barghouti called explicitly for “the one-state solution… a unitary state solution”, a “unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.” http://www.counterpunch.org/2003/12/12/relative-humanity-the-essential-obstacle-to-a-just-peace-in-palestine/
And 10 years on? Omar Barghouti has recently participated in a meeting called “Strategies for change.” An enthusiastic analysis of his talk can be found here: – along with a link to a 16-minute video of the talk.
Omar Barghouti is deeply interested in the Brazilian educator and philosopher Paolo Friere’s work with the pedagogy of the oppressed, and starts by saying that the oppressed must, of course, not become oppressors. Mr Barghouti wants (1:32 – slightly paraphrased): A secular unitary state in British Mandate Palestine, recognizing the inalienable rights of indigenous Palestinians and “acquired rights of colonialist, indigenized Jewish settlers after they no longer have colonialist privileges.”
I disagree with the “colonialist” label, but that’s not the most important point here.
After discussing the three cardinal goals of BDS, Mr Barghouti says (5:40 – slightly paraphrased):
“A Jewish state in Palestine – any shape or form – cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination. It should be opposed just as we oppose a Muslim state, or a Christian, or any kind of exclusionary state –”
At 5:50 he seems to back down a bit in his opposition to Muslim or Christian states, and says:
“most definitely do we oppose a Jewish state. No rational, not-sell-out Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.”
“…. post-colonialism – after justice – we must envision integrating into a common nation that can determine its future together.”
Elsewhere Mr Barghouti has admitted that substantial minority protection in Muslim majority states is seldom seen, but he believes that the “Arab Spring” suggests that there is potential for a better situation.
My evaluation is that Mr Barghouti is either dangerously naïve – or dangerously manipulative.
Nakba denial and rape culture at Peter Beinart’s Open Zion. By Benjamin Doherty. The Electronic Intifada, November 4, 2013.
Why Israel Fears the Boycott. By Omar Barghouti. New York Times, January 31, 2014.
Is BDS’ campaign against Israel reaching a turning point? By Omar Barghouti. Al Jazeera English, December 22, 2013.
On Academic Freedom and the BDS Movement. By Omar Barghouti. The Nation, December 14, 2013.
The BDS Movement Explained. By Omar Barghouti. New York Daily News, February 25, 2013.
Omar Barghouti Admits BDS Wants to Destroy Israel. Huffington Post Monitor, October 4, 2013. Go to 5:55 for the good stuff.
NY Times, MSNBC Whitewash BDS. By Yair Rosenberg. Tablet, February 6, 2013.
Why do Zionists falsely claim BDS movement opposes two-state solution. By Ali Abunimah. The Electronic Intifada, February 6, 2013.
They Can’t Hide the Sun: An interview with Omar Barghouti. By Peter Rugh. Mondoweiss, February 7, 2013.
“Boycotts work”: An interview with Omar Barghouti. By Ali Mustafa. The Electronic Intifada, May 31, 2009.
Omar Barghouti on “Why BDS?” Mondoweiss, April 6, 2011.
Omar Barghouti at UCLA: No to BDS, no to occupation. By Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller. Jewish Journal, January 23, 2014.
Omar Barghouti at UCLA: A speaker who brings hate. By Roberta P. Seid. Jewish Journal, January 16, 2014.
The Chutzpah of Omar Barghouti. By Daniel Greenfield. FrontPage Magazine, February 9, 2012.
Omar Barghouti’s Lectures: A Case Study of Dangerous Propaganda. By Roberta Seid and Roz Rothstein. StandWithUs. [January 2012]
The Message of BDS. By Joel Fishman. Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, January 4, 2011.
Omar Barghouti. Divest This.
International Solidarity with Palestine: Towards a Global Intifada (Omar Barghouti). Video. SJPatUCLA, January 21, 2014. YouTube.
Omar Barghouti: Strategies for Change. Video. John Y. Jones. Dag Hammarskjöldprogram/Network. Vimeo. Excerpt at YouTube.
BDS campaigner Omar Barghouti lecture and conversation with Amy Goodman in Santa Fe. By Ali Abunimah. The Electronic Intifada, February 10, 2013. Videos at Vimeo, here and here.
Omar Barghouti Talks About Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions Against Israeli Apartheid at Yale University. Video. strugglevideomedia, February 8, 2013. YouTube.
Omar Barghouti : Co-founder of the Global BDS Movement & PACBI Interviewed. Video. planxtysumoud, February 24, 2010. YouTube.
QUESTION: If the occupation ends, would that end your call for BDS?
BARGHOUTI: No, it wouldn’t. . . . The majority of the Palestinian people are not suffering from occupation, they are suffering from denial of their right to come back home.
Omar Barghouti: BDS – The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights. Video. PHubb, July 13, 2011. YouTube.