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US to label Israel boycott movement as 'anti-Semitic': Pompeo

Pompeo will make first visit to Golan Heights [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 November, 2020

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The US is set to label the BDS movement as 'anti-Semitic', angering activists

Mike Pompeo announced that Washington will take measures against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

Washington "will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic," he said.

"We will immediately take steps to identify organisations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw US government support for such groups," Pompeo said.

"We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is."

Israel sees BDS as a strategic threat and has long accused it of anti-Semitism.

Activists strongly deny the charge, comparing the boycott to the economic isolation that helped bring down apartheid in South Africa.

Last week US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced his intention to create a new process by which Washington can label organisations and NGOs as "anti-Semitic", Politico reported on Wednesday.

Three people close to the issue confirmed the move, saying Pompeo may hold off on making an announcement.

Although Pompeo will not name any specific organisations, a Politico report from last month revealed that Washington is considering declaring certain prominent international NGOs, such as Amnesty International and Oxfam, as "anti-Semitic" due to their links with groups critical of Israeli actions.

Politico was the first to report that the State Department was weighing up whether to advise other governments not to support the so-called "anti-Semitic" NGOs.

Pompeo will make the first visit by a US secretary of state to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Thursday, after labelling the pro-Palestinian BDS movement an anti-Semitic "cancer".

Last year, President Donald Trump's administration made the controversial to decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, which the Jewish state seized from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967.

"Today I'll get a chance to visit the Golan Heights," Pompeo said during a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The simple recognition of this as part of Israel... was a decision President Trump made that is historically important and simply a recognition of the reality," he added.

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