2021-January-20 09:35
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2020-November-25  23:29

Republican-Democrat Assault on BDS Is Systematic

TEHRAN (FNA)- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the State Department will consider the anti-Israel BDS campaign “anti-Semitic” and withdraw US government support from organizations engaged in such “hateful BDS conduct.”

Calling the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions push a “cancer” and vowing to stand with like-minded nations on the issue, Pompeo stood beside Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he also directed the State Department’s envoy on combating anti-Semitism “to identify organizations that engage in, or otherwise support, the Global BDS Campaign.”

The BDS movement promotes boycotts and sanctions against Israel through various avenues. The aim is to end Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem Al Quds, Gaza, and the Golan Heights, achieve equal rights for Palestinians, and return Palestinian refugees to the Holy Land.

The designation of BDS as antisemitic is intended to silence Israel’s critics, making supporters of Palestinian rights wary of engaging in public debate. It also seeks to make any debate even more fraught, with defenders of the Zionist regime policy emboldened to declare opponents who advocate any material pressure on Israel antisemitic.

In the prevailing environment, don’t expect the Joe Biden administration to reverse the new policy. In addition to the clear statements made by the president-elect and his pick for the post of the State Secretary about their unconditional support for Israel and Washington's unimpeded military and financial aide to Tel Aviv during his term, Biden has never responded to Pompeo’s policy, and it seems unlikely that he will. It’s unlikely that Biden will ever reverse Pompeo’s stigmatization of BDS upon assuming office. He is more likely to support Israel and its illegal settlements in the West Bank.

This is because AIPAC is also behind Pompeo’s attack on the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are critical to thwarting the anti-Israel BDS campaign. This will only make Biden silent on the matter, even though this goes against international law and the freedom of speech.

This is while there are legal arguments for BDS by the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, and many other groups that are all part of a global campaign to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine. There is nothing illegitimate or antisemitic about a call for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions in response to these crimes.

Indeed, demanding or creating consequences for human rights violations or to create material pressure for changes in a policy that has caused so much bloodshed and misery for so long is lawful under international law. The new assault on the BDS movement is an assault on the fundamental norms of international law. And it has nothing to do with antisemitism.

Those who claim that Israel should not be targeted with economic repercussions for its policies should defend that proposition on its merits. But any argument that boycotts against Israel are pre-emptively out of bounds, is neither ethical nor credible. If Israeli policies were justified, that argument should not be difficult to make without resorting to any effort to pre-empt the opposing viewpoint.

Those who support Israel’s illegal settlements are only prolonging the occupation regime in Palestine. Those that target the BDS movement only recognize the Zionist regime for the cancer that it is. Put simply, they are helping to recognize West Bank settlements as part of Israel, even as most of the world views the move as a violation of international law.

As mentioned earlier, the ongoing Republican-Democrat assault on BDS is a systematic assault on Palestine. It undermines international opposition to Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid against Palestinians by calls for prolonging this regime on the one hand with anti-Palestinian racism on the other, in order to suppress advocacy of Palestinian rights. This fraudulent policy should be condemned by the international civil society, including world authorities on human rights at the United Nations.

Despite the new shenanigans by foreign policy establishment in Washington, the BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality is here to stay, until all those struggling for a more dignified, just and free Palestine succeed in holding the Zionist regime to account and end its apartheid and settler-colonialism.