By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) - The US State Department said Thursday that it began combating “anti-Semitic” activities, including taking steps against the pro-Palestinian boycott movement Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
The BDS movement works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law, according to its website.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a visit to Israel that the US strongly opposes the global BDS campaign and practices that facilitate it, such as discriminatory labeling and publication of databases of companies that operate in Israel.
"As we have made clear, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism," he said, and directed the Office of the Special Envoy to identify organizations that engage in or support the BDS campaign.
Pompeo, who made the first-ever visit to an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank later Thursday, said the State Department will also review the use of funds to confirm they are not supporting the global BDS campaign.
It will also review foreign assistance funding to ensure that the US is not providing aid to foreign organizations engaged in anti-Semitic BDS activities.
Pompeo urged other governments to take similar steps to make sure funds are also not provided directly or indirectly to organizations engaged in anti-Semitic BDS activities.
For its part, BDS Thursday said ''fraudulent revision of the definition of antisemitism has been condemned by dozens of Jewish groups worldwide and by hundreds of leading Jewish and Israeli scholars, including world authorities on antisemitism and the Holocaust.''
“By this revisionist and fraudulent definition, even human rights organizations that are not part of the BDS movement but endorse banning settlement goods, for instance, as well as some 22% of Jewish Americans under the age of 40, who support a full boycott of Israel according to a recent poll, would also be designated as ‘antisemitic','' the BDS statement added.