U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated on Thursday that the United States would withdraw funding from groups that support the anti-Israel BDS movement.
“We will recognize the global BDS campaign as anti-Semitic,” he said. “The time is right. … We want to join all the other nations that recognize BDS for the cancer that it is,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the policy “simply wonderful.”
In a statement released by the U.S. State Department, Pompeo said he has instructed the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, led by Elan Carr, “ to identify organizations that engage in, or otherwise support, the Global BDS Campaign” in which Carr’s office “will consider whether an organization is engaged in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, or otherwise limit, commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel.”
He continued, “To ensure that department funds are not spent in a manner that is inconsistent with our government’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism, the State Department will review the use of its funds to confirm that they are not supporting the Global BDS Campaign. Further, the State Department will conduct a review of options consistent with applicable law to ensure that its foreign assistance funding is not provided to foreign organizations engaged in anti-Semitic BDS activities.”
In a separate but related move on Thursday, the State Department issued a new policy that requires products made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be labeled as “Israel,” “Product of Israel” or “Made in Israel” when exporting to the United States.
Goods made in Palestinian territories in the West Bank are to be labeled products of the “West Bank,” and goods produced in the Gaza Strip are to be marked as products of “Gaza.”
As such, the United States will no longer accept “West Bank/Gaza” or identical markings “in recognition that Gaza and the West Bank are politically and administratively separate and should be treated accordingly,” said Pompeo.
The announcement came as Pompeo is visiting Israel as part of a 10-day trip that has also included France, Turkey and Georgia. From Israel, Pompeo will travel to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
On Thursday, Pompeo became the first sitting secretary of state to visit an Israeli settlement—that of Psagot and its winery north of Jerusalem.
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