Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Jerusalem on Thursday that the United States will officially recognize the anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic and will move to immediately defund any organization that supports it.
“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 while speaking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I know this sounds simple to you, Mr. Prime Minister, it seems. It seems like a statement of fact but I want you to know that we will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support for such groups.”
“We want to stand with all other nations that recognize that the BDS movement for the cancer that it is and we’re committed to combatting it,” Pompeo continued. “Our record speaks for itself. During the Trump administration, America stands with Israel like never before. Indeed, the commitment we’ve made, the iron clad commitment we’ve made to the Jewish state will continue, I’m confident of that after our conversation this morning.”
NGO Monitor responded to the announcement by saying in a statement:
The equating of BDS with antisemitism echoes the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which defines attempts to deny “the Jewish people their right to self-determination” and apply “double standards” as antisemitic.
Combating antisemitism and ending the exploitation of universal human rights are both issues of great importance, and the need to address these objectives should transcend political divisions. In this context, NGO Monitor has called for governments, as well as NGOs, to adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.
Pompeo made the visit to Israel to discuss the Trump administration’s historic Abraham Accords and national security issues concerning the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
The State Department highlighted the United States’ relationship with Israel in a statement on Wednesday:
THE U.S.-ISRAEL PARTNERSHIP, COUNTERING IRAN AND PROMOTING REGIONAL STABILITY
- The United States prides itself on being the first country to recognize Israel as an independent state on May 14, 1948.
- President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017, and the U.S. Embassy to Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018.
- The United States stands with Israel in countering Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region. We cooperate closely with Israel to counter Iran and work to resolve regional crises in a manner consistent with U.S. and Israeli national security interests.
- The United States supports Israel’s right to defend itself and is a partner to Israel in the face of Iran’s continued support for designated terrorist groups such as Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
SNAPBACK OF UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL SANCTIONS
- The United States appreciates Israel’s support for our decision to trigger the snapback of UNSC sanctions on Iran. The sanctions that have been re-applied will help curb Iran’s malign activity.
- We continue to promote implementation of the snapped-back sanctions. We remind all UN Member States of their obligation to implement the UNSC sanctions that have been re-applied as a result of snapback.
U.S.-ISRAELI ECONOMIC TIES ADVANCE PROSPERITY IN OUR NATIONS
- The United States is Israel’s largest single trading partner. The U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1985, serves as the foundation for expanding trade and investment between our two countries.
- The U.S.-Israel economic and commercial relationship is anchored by bilateral trade of close to $50 billion in goods and services annually.
- Israel is home to more than 2,500 U.S. firms employing some 72,000 Israelis, while Israel is a top-15 foreign direct investor in the United States and supports an estimated 19,200 American jobs, according to the Department of Commerce.
U.S.-ISRAEL MILITARY PARTNERSHIP
- The United States is committed to Israel’s security and supporting its right to defend itself. Under our 10-year Memorandum of Understanding, we provide $3.8 billion annually in security assistance to Israel.
- In addition to financial support, the U.S and Israel maintain a high level of defense cooperation including joint military exercises, military research, and weapons development.
- President Trump has now brokered agreements to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan – the first such agreements between Israel and Arab or Muslim-majority countries since 1994.
- The agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain will also help advance the President’s vision for finding a fair and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
VISION FOR PEACE
- The United States continues to pursue the path that the President set out in January when presenting the U.S. Vision for Peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
- We understand that the Palestinians do not like parts of this plan, which is why we have asked them to agree to negotiate with Israel and present their objections within the context of direct talks based on the Vision.
U.S. AND ISRAEL BOAST STRONG EDUCATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS
Through our “people-to-people” programs, the U.S. supports a rich array of cultural, educational, and professional exchange programs with Israel.
Since 1956, the U.S. and Israeli governments have sent approximately 3,300 Americans and more than 1,300 Israelis on a variety of Fulbright exchanges.