While on a state visit to Israel, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today announced that the U.S. will action against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and groups that support it .
During his press briefing with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, Mr Pompeo said that the State Department will “regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as antisemitic”.
He said: “It seems like a statement of fact… but we will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. support for such groups”.
The U.S. State Department also announced that products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank can be labeled “Made in Israel” in a major policy shift.
The new State Department guidelines “ensure that country of origin markings for Israeli and Palestinian goods are consistent with our reality-based foreign policy approach”, the official statement said.
It added: “In accordance with this announcement, all producers within areas where Israel exercises the relevant authorities – most notably Area C under the Oslo Accords – will be required to mark goods as ‘Israel,’ ‘Product of Israel,’ or ‘Made in Israel’ when exporting to the United States”.
Mr Pompeo became the first top U.S. diplomat to visit an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
On the second of his three-day official visit, he also hailed U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem as “the simple fact of recognising reality”.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will be taking office in January. It is unclear whether the measure against BDS will be enacted during the final months of the current administration.
In December 2019, Prime Minister Boris Johnson underlined that the Government will stop public bodies from developing their “own pseudo foreign policy against countries” and stop them from boycotting Israeli goods.
Rt. Hon. The Lord Pickles, CFI Parliamentary Chairman in the House of Lords and UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues: “I welcome the decision by the United States to designate the pernicious BDS movement as Antisemitic. It is clear that right across the world there is a growing realisation about the Antisemitic nature of the BDS movement, including allies in Europe. The Conservative Party made an important manifesto commitment to stopping public bodies engaging in boycotts of Israel and I look forward to seeing this introduced as soon as possible”.