Secretary of State says government will immediately take steps to withdraw U.S. government funding from BDS groups.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the United States government is declaring the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to be anti-Semitic and will move to cut federal funding to any group that supports it.
At a press conference in Jerusalem after talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pompeo said that the decision by the State Department means “that we will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic.”
“We will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support for such groups,” Pompeo said. “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.”
The move by the federal government joins decisions by 30 of the 50 states that have passed differing laws banning state funding for groups affiliated with the movement that seeks to ban all contacts with the State of Israel in an attempt to force it to capitulate to Palestinian demands. In May, Oklahoma became the 30th American state to prohibit the state government from contracting with entities that boycott the Israel.
BDS founder Omar Barghouti has rejected Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and said he would only accept a single state where Palestinians have total sovereignty. In 2005, he founded BDS, which brings together hundreds of anti-Israel organizations and branches around the world. In 2014, Barghouti stated that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance.”
The BDS movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts of Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent protest of the so-called “Israeli occupation.” The movement does not call for peace or a two-state solution. Critics charge that its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism and that its objective is to destroy the State of Israel.
Netanyahu told Pompeo that the announcement of the U.S. move “sounds simply wonderful.”
Pompeo made his remarks during a two-day visit to Israel, where he met Wednesday with Netanyahu and visiting Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani. Pompeo called the announcement of the opening of the Israeli and Bahraini embassies in each respective country “a truly historic step.”
The Secretary will visit the settlement of Psagot north of Jerusalem that named a wine after him, then visit the strategic Golan Heights.
From Israel, Pompeo will travel to the Gulf countries of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and his final stop will be in Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before returning to the U.S. on Nov. 23 in time for Thanksgiving.