The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—applauds Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s November 19, 2020, declaration that the United States of America will regard the Palestinian-led boycott movement as “anti-Semitic” and cut off government support for any organizations taking part in it.
Pompeo said that, “[w]e will regard the global, anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic,” referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. “We will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support for such groups,” he said, adding that all nations should “recognize the BDS movement for the cancer that it is.”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America said, “The Rabbinical Alliance of America and its member rabbis applaud Secretary of State Pompeo’s declaration that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement against the State of Israel is anti-Semitic. The Rabbinical Alliance of America further takes note that the United States-Israel alliance has reached unprecedented heights under the Trump administration. This includes developments such as the State Department’s recent implementation of a policy permitting birth certificates for persons born in Jerusalem to elect to list their place of birth as ‘Israel.’ Another recent historic development is the Trump administration’s lifting of restrictions on federal investment in science, research and agriculture projects in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which was signed last month by United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Mirocznik further stated, “we must emphasize and take special notice to how the BDS leadership rejects the very idea of a Jewish state in Israel, the biblical and ancestral homeland of the Jews.”
When asked if Jews can have their own state, Omar Barghouti, one of the movement’s founders, forcefully replied on the record, “Not in Palestine.” By “Palestine,” Barghouti has stated that he denies Jews the right to settle anywhere in Israel, not just in the West Bank. The New York Times has corroborated Barghouti’s stance by noting to its readership that this isn’t a group merely seeking civil rights and independence, but the dissolution of Israel as we know it. The objective of BDS is for an end to the “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands,” which certainly includes Tel Aviv and Jaffa as much as it does Ramallah and Bethlehem. As such, BDS is an attempt to overthrow and undermine a sovereign state that is an American ally.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America vigorously and unequivocally objects to this opposition to a Jewish state in Israel. Israel is the home to millions of Jews and gentiles who participate in a vibrant democracy with a thriving economy and a multitude of liberties and rights for all its residents. The denial of Jews the right to a country is discriminatory. BDS goes further and denies Jews the right to live in the West Bank, where Christians and Muslims can live freely. This is blatant anti-Semitic discrimination.
Further, the BDS platform is not consistent with the current reality of the Middle East. We live at a time when Arab countries such as the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and others have made peace with Israel, strengthening cultural and economic ties to everyone’s benefit. The Abraham Accords herald a new era of positive transformation of the Middle East into a region in which true and lasting peace, security and economic health will take hold.
The BDS movement seeks to enact change by pushing down Jews rather than raising everyone up. True peace must be beneficial to all. Israel is a respected democracy and beacon of light and hope for the entire world. BDS denies this reality and the reality of growing peace through mutually beneficial terms of cooperation.