U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States will recognize the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel as anti-Semitic, with the intent of withdrawing government support from all groups with ties to the campaign which he branded as a “cancer.”
“Today, I want to make one announcement with respect to a decision by the State Department that we will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic. I know this may sound simple to you, Mr. Prime Minister, it seems like a statement of fact – but, I want you to know that we will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw US government support for such groups,” said Pompeo.
Washington’s top diplomat made the statement amid an official trip to Israel, where he met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visiting-Bahraini Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani in Jerusalem. The three leaders discussed the historic Abraham Accords, which Israel and Bahrain recently signed, and the path to peace, stability and security in the region. Secretary Pompeo reiterated strong U.S. support for the normalization of ties between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain, and commended steps to embrace the Abraham Accords and advance peace in the region.
Among other topics of discussion, Secretary Pompeo highlighted Washington’s intention to ratchet-up significant pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran – as part of the Trump Administration’s effort to force the Ayatollah regime to abandon its malign foreign and domestic policies.
“We talked about how we can protect Americans and Israelis in the region from the regime in Tehran. We talked about this, they remain – we should not take for granted – they remain the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in all the world. Israel has provided outstanding support to our pressure campaign which we have no intention of relaxing,” he said.
Amid Pompeo’s trip, the State Department issued a communique underscoring the unbreakable bond shared by the United States with its strongest ally in the Middle East, particularly highlighting policy by the administration of President Donald Trump:
THE U.S.-ISRAEL PARTNERSHIP, COUNTERING IRAN AND PROMOTING REGIONAL STABILITY
The United States prides itself on being the first country to recognize Israel as an independent state on May 14, 1948.
President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017, and the U.S. Embassy to Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018.
The United States stands with Israel in countering Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region. We cooperate closely with Israel to counter Iran and work to resolve regional crises in a manner consistent with U.S. and Israeli national security interests.
The United States supports Israel’s right to defend itself and is a partner to Israel in the face of Iran’s continued support for designated terrorist groups such as Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
The United States appreciates Israel’s support for our decision to trigger the snapback of UNSC sanctions on Iran. The sanctions that have been re-applied will help curb Iran’s malign activity.
We continue to promote implementation of the snapped-back sanctions. We remind all UN Member States of their obligation to implement the UNSC sanctions that have been re-applied as a result of snapback.
U.S.-ISRAELI ECONOMIC TIES ADVANCE PROSPERITY IN OUR NATIONS
The United States is Israel’s largest single trading partner. The U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1985, serves as the foundation for expanding trade and investment between our two countries.
The U.S.-Israel economic and commercial relationship is anchored by bilateral trade of close to $50 billion in goods and services annually.
Israel is home to more than 2,500 U.S. firms employing some 72,000 Israelis, while Israel is a top-15 foreign direct investor in the United States and supports an estimated 19,200 American jobs, according to the Department of Commerce.
U.S.-ISRAEL MILITARY PARTNERSHIP
The United States is committed to Israel’s security and supporting its right to defend itself. Under our 10-year Memorandum of Understanding, we provide $3.8 billion annually in security assistance to Israel.
In addition to financial support, the U.S and Israel maintain a high level of defense cooperation including joint military exercises, military research, and weapons development.
President Trump has now brokered agreements to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan – the first such agreements between Israel and Arab or Muslim-majority countries since 1994.
The agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain will also help advance the President’s vision for finding a fair and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
VISION FOR PEACE
The United States continues to pursue the path that the President set out in January when presenting the U.S. Vision for Peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
We understand that the Palestinians do not like parts of this plan, which is why we have asked them to agree to negotiate with Israel and present their objections within the context of direct talks based on the Vision.
U.S. AND ISRAEL BOAST STRONG EDUCATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS
Through our “people-to-people” programs, the U.S. supports a rich array of cultural, educational, and professional exchange programs with Israel.
Since 1956, the U.S. and Israeli governments have sent approximately 3,300 Americans and more than 1,300 Israelis on a variety of Fulbright exchanges.