WASHINGTON, DC, November 19, 2020 – In a blatant attack on free speech, human rights, and social justice movements, Secretary Mike Pompeo announced today that the State Department will designate the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as antisemitic and pledged to create a blacklist of organizations that support BDS. This comes alongside his visit to an illegal Israeli settlement and announcement that all goods made in illegal settlements will now be labeled as a product of Israel, reversing longstanding U.S. policy.
Make no mistake, this is not about Jewish safety. This is about shielding the Israeli government from accountability for its apartheid rule over Palestinians. Especially given decades of U.S. government complicity and unwillingness to hold Israel accountable, only global, grassroots pressure will force Israel to abide by international law. As a Jewish and proudly pro-BDS organization, we know that using our grassroots power to fight for equality, justice and freedom for Palestinians is a powerful expression of our own Jewish tradition. Working toward Palestinian freedom is not – and never has been – antisemitic.
This attack on the BDS movement – made alongside the decision to label products from illegal Israeli settlements as being from Israel – is a last ditch attempt from the outgoing Trump administration to give every gift possible to the far right in Israel and to white Christian Evangelicals in the U.S. Pompeo is creating an opaque blacklist to terrify organizations critical of Israel into silence. Every person who believes in free speech and in the rights of people to pressure their governments to end injustices should be speaking out against this authoritarian move by the Trump administration.
Jewish Voice for Peace Action is an independent, non-partisan, 501(c)(4) political and advocacy partner organization of Jewish Voice for Peace. It is a multiracial, intergenerational movement of Jews and allies working towards justice and equality in Israel/Palestine by transforming U.S. policy.