The Department of State will ban and withdraw U.S. government funding for organizations that are involved in the boycott and divestment movement, Sec. of State Mike Pompeo announced from Israel.
Sec. of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement while standing alongside Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Thursday, according to a State Department press release. Pompeo called the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement both “anti-Israal” and “anti-Semitic.”
“Today I want to make one announcement with respect to a decision by the State Department that we will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic,” Pompeo said.
“We will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct, and withdraw US government support for such groups,” he continued. “The time is right.”
Pompeo’s Israel trip included a historic visit to a contested West Bank Israeli settlement and the Golan Heights. It marked the first time a State Department secretary ever visited the region, Axios reported.
“We want to stand with all other nations that recognize the BDS movement for the cancer that it is, and we’re committed to combating it,” Pompeo said.
The BDS movement dates back to 2005, according to the BDS National Committee (BNC), a coalition of pro-Palestine groups. The movement seeks to encourage governments, private organizations and companies worldwide to divest money from Israel.
The BNC responded to Pompeo’s comments Thursday saying it would prevail against the “far right Trump-Netanyahu alliance.”
“The fanatic Trump-Netanyahu alliance is intentionally conflating opposition to Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid against Palestinians and calls for nonviolent pressure to end this regime on the one hand with anti-Jewish racism on the other, in order to suppress advocacy of Palestinian rights under international law,” the BNC said in a statement.
“The BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, stands with all those struggling for a more dignified, just and beautiful world,” it continued.
Pompeo became the first secretary of state in U.S. history to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City during a March 2019 state visit and addressed the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) from Jerusalem, according to Reuters.
“[President Donald Trump] moved the U.S. Embassy to this very city of God, Jerusalem, the rightful capital of the Jewish homeland,” Pompeo said during his RNC speech.
Pompeo annulled a 1978 State Department policy, which labeled Israel’s West Bank settlements “inconsistent with international law,” in November 2019, according to Axios.
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