Widgets Magazine

Barghouti calls for non-violence

Former Palestinian presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouti advocated for non-violent protests and boycotts to oppose violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a speech Monday night. (MEHMET INONU/The Stanford Daily)

Mustafa Barghouti, doctor and former Palestinian presidential candidate, endorsed a peaceful means to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when he spoke Monday evening at a Students for Palestinian Equal Rights (SPER) presentation titled, “The Voice of Palestinian Civil Society: A Call for Non-Violent Resistance.”


Barghouti, an alumnus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, founded the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, a healthcare organization serving the Gaza Strip and West Bank. He was a candidate to succeed Yasser Arafat as the Palestinian Authority president until his arrest by Israeli soldiers. Barghouti still received 19.8 percent of the vote in 2005.


Barghouti advocated through his talk for a peaceful means to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, giving accounts from a Palestinian perspective. He recounted stories of trying to break through the Israeli naval blockade in the Gaza Strip to provide medical services.


SPER is a student group best known for its calls for divestment from Israeli companies committing human rights violations in Israel settlements. Barghouti spent much of his speech discussing his view on these violations, which many on the Israeli side of the conflict refute.


“I am sure, there is much discomfort when Israelis hear the word apartheid,” Barghouti said, referring to an accusation SPER and others level at Israeli treatment of Palestinians.


“If I was an Israeli, I would feel discomfort, too,” he said.


Barghouti addressed the plight of the Palestinians, describing to the audience how Palestinians are frequently humiliated at Israeli border crossings on their way to work. One of the slides he presented showed men jammed into a metal turnstile gate as they made their way to work.


Barghouti reminded the audience that students, not just adult workers, also face a daily border crossing into Israel for school. To make it through the gates on time, Palestinians are forced to arrive at 4 a.m. on an average day.


The separation itself, according to Barghouti, is oppressive for many Palestinians.


“I am forbidden from entering the city I was born in,” he said, referring to Jerusalem.


Barghouti showed the audience several videos depicting graphic scenes. One showed Israeli soldiers using bullets to clear out a building in order to send in a military police dog that attacked an unarmed woman, while another showed soldiers beating a young man at an Israeli-Palestinian checkpoint.


“We are not respected by Israel,” Barghouti said, while continuing to advocate for a non-violent approach to solving the conflict.


Barghouti also referenced Hana al-Shalabi, a Palestinian woman placed in an Israeli prison, who is currently approaching day 19 of her hunger strike.


In addition, Barghouti called for boycotts to stimulate change in global opinion toward Israel. He referred to the Arab Spring revolutions as a model for inciting change in the oppression of Palestinians through nonviolent protest.

  • dan

    any mention of fact that before Oslo there was no separation, because there were no suicide bombers?

  • TFC

    “SPER is a student group best known for its calls for divestment from Israeli companies committing human rights violations in Israel settlements.”

    That is one of the most ignorant statements I’ve ever read in the Daily. Did the writer even take a cursory look at SPER’s petition for divestment? It never mentions “Israeli companies”, and the companies it expressly identifies are mainly European/US-based. Also, “Israel settlements”? What does that even mean? I think the word you’re looking for is “Occupied (Palestinian) Territories”. Yes, the presence of Israel(i) settlements in the OPT is relevant, but it makes little sense to say that the human rights violations are occurring IN the settlements.

    I hope in the future the Daily will choose someone who is not so blatantly ignorant (or who is least prepared to do minimal background research) to report on this important issue.

  • TFC

    Does the Daily have some way of dealing with racist crap like this? There are Palestinian students (and possibly staff and faculty) on this campus. Is the Daily comfortable with its website being used to racially vilify them?

  • Arosenfield

    Why are they going to
    school/working in Israel? Why not stay in their own settlements and work there?
    Israelis would be murdered if they went to school/work in Palestinian
    territories, yet the Palestinians stream into Israel to reap the benefits
    Israel offers.

  • Gil stein

    Is Barghouti and the Palestinian leadership willing to accept the concept of two nations for two people?  So far the answer is no.  They want the elimination of Israel and they should just say it instead of using code words.  When Arab Israelis are asked if they want to live in  Palestinian State (without relocationg) nearly all say no.  That should tell you something.
    gil stein
    aptos, ca

  • the stanford community

    Any mention of the fact that there hasn’t been a suicide bombing in over 4 years, yet the illegal (per the U.N.) separation wall and its checkpoint apparatus become less humane, and more restrictive.  What pro-Israeli folk fail to realize is that there is a significant difference between individual and institutionalized violence.  What can Palestinian civil society do about one guy who goes rogue and blows himself up?  Not much.  What can Israeli civil society do about its government/military policy of building a separation wall, checkpoints, and settlements, not to mention administrative detention?  A whole lot.  When you’re government goes rogue, they are accountable to the people.

  • Swat69

    Thank you for this.  These are the things that legitimately make Israelis and non-Israeli Jews proud. 

    At the same time, I am painfully aware that, as an American Jew, I can move to Mustafa Barghouti’s country and be given instant Israeli citizenship.  I can settle in the West Bank on extremely generous terms, kicking Mr. Barghouti’s fellow citizens out of their homes in the process (or having the Israeli army do it for me).  I can take half-hour showers every morning while my Palestinian neighbors are forced to measure out water by the teaspoonful. If I’m a little paranoid or otherwise mentally unbalanced, I can have an Uzi submachine gun to carry around.  I can watch my fellow settlers beat the daylights out of helpless Palestinian farmers because somebody used to beat them up back in Brooklyn.

    And why would I want to leave the United States, where I have a perfectly good job, friends, family, nice apartment, and go to Israel or the occupied territories? For the same reason that these “settlers” have gone: they don’t fear annihilation here in the United States; they fear assimilation, here in the United States.

    The idea that both the Israeli government and the US government should be committing themselves to these “settlers” is only the most insane part of the whole business.  Yet a series of Israeli governments, both Labor and Likud, have continued this settlement madness.  Even during the “Have you hugged your Palestinian today?” period, the government was still carrying on with the “settlements,” to “change facts on the ground.”

    I say this while I am also proud of Israel’s laws and practices on gays, and its still-extant if seriously damaged socialist and social democratic institutions. 

    I know that, within Israel proper, Arabs do not have the same rights that Jews have, that Arab towns are denied many of the basic services, sewage, water, etc., that Jewish towns take for granted and that anybody should be able to take for granted.  But I also know that similar ethnic and racial discrimination and outright racism exist in the United States and Canada, to say nothing of Israel’s neighbors.  And when I open a copy of the Friday Haaretz English edition weekend supplement (resembling in every way what one could read in a liberal newspaper in the United States, Canada or Britain), I retain the hope that those shortcomings are gradually being overcome.

    And then I recall my Israeli friends, whose families came to Palestine before the First World War, from what is today Lithuania and what was then Czarist Russia, who have abandoned Israel and moved to the United States because they say the country is being taken over by religious extremists with a frankly racist outlook. 

    Yes, of course, Israel is much better than Sudan — or Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria or Lebanon.  It’s just that it is not what we were hoping for, and is less and less of that every day.

  • the stanford community

    If you missed the talk and want to circumvent the Daily’s shoddy coverage, watch this instead:


  • Swat69

    Israel, the historian Isaac Deutscher once said, is a case of somebody who jumped out of a burning building and landed on somebody else’s head.

    Of all the people who could have been blamed for that, the world’s rich and well-armed states have chosen to blame … the person whose head was landed on.

  • D.

    Ah the ignorance. Again with making it sound like Israelis and Palestinians are living in equal conditions. Did you not attend the event? The unemployment rate is as high as 60% between 18-26 year olds in some Palestinian areas. You make it seem like there are job offers flowing out of a constant stream of new startups and companies. Palestine is Wallstreet! Palestine is Palo Alto! Budding with exciting opportunities. Get your facts straight. 

  • D.

    If you attended the talk or even bothered to TAP A FEW KEYS TO SEARCH A FEW WORDS ON GOOGLE, you would know that the answer is yes, he is, yes, they are. You write “(without relocating)” as an afterthought, like it’s not that big of an issue, when it is. Not relocating = shitty, desolate, disconnected lands surrounded by Israel from all directions. Let’s reverse the situation and see if the Israelis are willing to live like that. “Without relocating.”

  • guest

    I don’t know what some of you are whining about. This reporter did a good job at exactly he was supposed to do, report on the event.
    All I hear is
    tangents on opinions and choice of words. This is an account of what was said and how the reporter wrote it into the article. Overall this is a good article and well written.

    I mind you that no article is perfect and I challenge you to find one that is. Just because the reporter uses a choice of words that you do not agree with does not make him “ignorant” it’s just makes it your opinion on what should have been said. If you can do a better job then get a pencil and a piece of paper and write your own article and try to do it without evoking flak from either side on a subject this controversial. I guarantee it can’t be done.

  • Wilfried Bose

    I have a very hard time understanding the Daily’s denial of its readership of basic context while reporting about Barghouti’s account of the institution of the security protocols he claims (and the Daily prints without qualification) are there to “humiliate”. Get real. Barghouti was arrested when he ducked security clearance in Jerusalem at the height of the suicide bombing campaign against Israeli civilians within that same city. Only weeks before, Nael Hilail, also bypassing too-lax security measures, had slaughtered 11 aboard a civilian bus in the Kiryat Menachem neighborhood of Jerusalem, wounding dozens of others. Who would claim that the TSA, arresting a passenger who ducked airport security in October 2001, was doing so to “humiliate”? What newspaper, campus or otherwise, would report on such an event and such security precautions without so much as mentioning the events of the previous month? Again, basic context may take some effort, but without it, it doesn’t really count as reporting.

  • susan

    Barghouti left a lot out of his narrative and nobody seemed to notice.
    1. He mentioned that  in 1948 there was a war and then there were thousands of Arab refugees. And that was it about that.

    The historical record is clear that it was the Arabs who started the 1948 war.
    Five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and
    Iraq) immediately invaded Israel. Their intentions were declared by Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”

    2. Barghouti failed to mention that 900,000 persecuted Jews fled and were expelled from 10 Arab states at the same time that Arabs fled from Israel. These Jews from Arab lands and their descendants now make up about a third of Israel’s population.

  • offended students

    Why does the Daily keep displaying these prominently racist comments on its website? 

  • lp

    The reporter clearly did not attend the event or was not paying attention. This isn’t the semantic issue you want it to be. The reporter misrepresented the positions of the speaker and provided extraordinarily selective coverage of his presentation.