by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Thursday that the US will withdraw government funding from organizations it identifies as engaging in “hateful BDS conduct,” the Washington Examiner reports. Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) is an international Palestinian-led, non-violent movement that challenges what its founders describe as “Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.”
Pompeo made his announcement while on a visit to Israel, when he also made an unprecedented official tour of an Israeli settlement winery in disputed areas of the West Bank: no other US Secretary of State has visited the West Bank Jewish settlements, which Palestinians say were built on stolen land. “We will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct, and withdraw US government support for such groups,” Pompeo said in a statement.
The BDS movement was launched in 2005 by Palestinian civil society organizations calling for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions as a form of non-violent pressure on Israel until it complies with three demands: “Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall, Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality, Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”
BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti has also said: “Definitely most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.” At the same time, the BDS website describes the movement as being against all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism. Mixed feelings surround the movement more generally as many Israeli and American Jews believe BDS is inherently anti-Semitic and a threat to the state of Israel while others, including the Jewish Voice for Peace movement, support it as a means by which to “secure a common future where Palestinians, Israeli Jews, and all the people of Israel/Palestine may live with dignity, security, and peace.”
In any event, Pompeo told reporters: “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.” Therefore, he 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.”
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