The United States says it will label the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, as “anti-Semitic”.
The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called the movement “a cancer” said this in a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday.
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He Washington “will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic … We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is.
The BDS campaign is a non-violent people-led movement that aims to economically pressure Israel into providing equal rights and a right of return to Palestinians, Aljazeera reports.
Modelled on the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, it has inspired people from around the world to boycott businesses and academic and cultural institutions that have either a direct or indirect affiliation with Israel.
This includes companies associated with illegal Jewish settlements, those that provide services to the occupation, companies exploiting natural resources from Palestinian land and those that use Palestinians as cheap labour.
The UN human rights office has identified more than 200 companies linked directly or indirectly to illegal settlements, mostly from Israel and the US but also Germany and the Netherlands.
They include banking and tourism companies, as well as construction and technology firms.
Pompeo, was in Israel as part of his last Middle East tour as US secretary of state and would visit the Golan Heights, a territory Israel captured from Syria and occupied in the 1967 war.