Trump Administration Unmasks BDS
As published in Newsmax
November 30, 2020.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently infuriated the international Israel-bashing world by announcing that the State Department views the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel as anti-Semitic and will ban funding for any organization or entity that supports BDS.
Furthermore, imported goods produced in the Israeli-controlled Area C of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) can now bear a "Made in Israel" label. "The time is right," declared Pompeo. "We want to join all the other nations that recognize BDS for the cancer that it is," adding, "anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism."Hatred of the Jewish state … the nation-state of the Jewish people … is hatred of the Jewish people. If any movement or entity focuses unique opprobrium and hatred on the Jewish collective … that is anti-Semitism. That has nothing to do with criticizing policies of Israel. Any country can be criticized. … But undermining Israel's right to exist, denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, demonizing or delegitimizing Israel, comparing Israel to the Nazis … is anti-Semitism. That's why … we've taken a very strong stance against BDS. … Singling Israel out for boycott – basically "don't buy from the Jews" … is anti-Semitism.
Amnesty International slammed Washington's actions as targeting non-violent advocacy for Palestinian rights and suppressing free expression. Human Rights Watch quickly accused the Trump administration of "equating (anti-Semitism) with the peaceful advocacy of boycotts."
Echoing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, signed by over 31 nations and adopted by the U.S, the State Department's envoy on anti-Semitism Elan Carr dismisses such attacks, explaining, "Hatred of the Jewish state … the nation-state of the Jewish people … is hatred of the Jewish people. If any movement or entity focuses unique opprobrium and hatred on the Jewish collective … that is anti-Semitism. That has nothing to do with criticizing policies of Israel. Any country can be criticized. … But undermining Israel's right to exist, denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, demonizing or delegitimizing Israel, comparing Israel to the Nazis … is anti-Semitism. That's why … we've taken a very strong stance against BDS. … Singling Israel out for boycott – basically "don't buy from the Jews" … is anti-Semitism.
The Palestinian BDS movement, founded in 2005 explicitly to undermine Israel's sovereignty, promotes economic, academic and political boycotts to isolate Israel, the sole Jewish nation in the entire world. Its skillful propaganda campaign exploits the language of peace, justice, and human rights to mislead Western audiences into believing its goal is merely to end the so-called occupation and establish a Palestinian state living peacefully beside a Jewish state.
In reality, it demonizes Israelis as Nazis and South African-style white racists to turn Israel into a pariah, unworthy of nation-state status. It targets Jewish students, Israeli academics, politicians and other pro-Israel supporters with intimidation, harassment and
physical threats. BDS founder Omar Barghouti candidly admits, "Ending the occupation doesn't mean anything if it doesn't mean upending the Jewish state itself."
Of course Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are outraged by the Trump administration's actions. They've actively supported the BDS movement for years.
In 2016, HRW praised the efforts of the U.N. Human Rights Council to establish an international boycott of companies doing business in Israeli territories and suggested three companies to add to its blacklist. In 2017, it issued a press release applauding the U.N.'s database for "build[ing] pressure on businesses" and in 2018, it attacked Israeli banks for investing in towns in Judea and Samaria.
In 2019, Amnesty singled out four leading tourism companies — Tripadvisor, Booking.com, Expedia and Airbnb — demanding that they stop doing business in Judea and Samaria and asking governments around the world to take regulatory action to prevent similar activities. Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker stated, "Amnesty International is walking in the footprints of the antisemitic BDS movement."
At least 32 American states have enacted legislation against the BDS movement, broadly blocking these states from engaging with individuals or entities that boycott Israel. In 2018, the U.S. actually resigned from the U.N. Human Rights Council because of its anti-Israel bias and blacklist.
Last year, the German Bundestag became the first European parliament to pass a resolution designating BDS as anti-Semitic, calling it reminiscent of the Nazi-era boycotts of Jews. France's 2019 National Assembly decision to recognize anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism gives ammunition to those working to defund the BDS movement. And this February, the Austrian parliament unanimously passed its own anti-BDS resolution.
Put in the context of the Trump administration's previously expressed view that Israeli settlements are not illegal under international law, Secretary Pompeo's recent announcements significantly ramp up U.S. efforts to combat BDS. The State Department has been instructed to actively encourage other nations to adopt anti-BDS laws and to use all available legal and policy tools, in coordination with other government agencies, to combat this movement.
According to State Department Deputy Special Envoy David Peyman, the anti-BDS campaign will use "a whole-of-government approach … to tackle it, to fight it, to kill it." This marks the first U.S. government effort to actively counter BDS specifically as an anti-Semitic movement.
It has taken 15 years to unmask BDS for what it is — a dangerous 21st century iteration of the age-old scourge of Jew-hatred. Will a Biden administration recognize this reality and continue this campaign or will it roll back current State Department policy as part of an expected reversal of Trump's Middle East initiatives?
In an interview in Abu Dhabi, Secretary Pompeo remarked, "It all starts with telling the truth and not having a bias towards appeasement."