Washington, D.C. (QNN)- Former Vice President and presidential hopeful Joe Biden sparked outrage among progressive activists in the United States after slamming the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and condemning calls that support Palestinians’ rights.
“Criticism of Israel’s policy is not anti-Semitism,” Biden said during a phone call with major donors earlier this week. “But too often that criticism from the left morphs into anti-Semitism.”
The call was part of a virtual fundraiser hosted by Dan Shapiro, a former ambassador to Israel, and Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University.
Also on his campaign website, Biden vows that he will “firmly reject the BDS movement, which singles out Israel — home to millions of Jews — and too often veers into anti-Semitism, while letting Palestinians off the hook for their choices.”
Biden was asked during the call how to respond to anti-Semitism among progressive Democratic activists in both the US and the United Kingdom. “We have to condemn it, and I’ve gotten in trouble for doing that,” the former vice president replied. “Whatever the source, right, left or centre.”
In a statement released following reports about Biden’s comments, leaders of the BDS movement – under the auspices of the Palestinian BDS National Committee – said Democratic voters should be endorsing the movement instead of rejecting it.
“By rejecting BDS, Joe Biden endorses US complicity in Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid, and supports depriving Palestinians of our fundamental human rights,” the group stated.
Joe Biden “firmly” rejects the BDS movement, shamefully opposing the global nonviolent struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice & equality. Cutting US military aid to Israel is vital to the progressive agenda of #HealthcareNotWarfare and social, racial, climate & gender justice. pic.twitter.com/JtMHYocXnU
— BDS movement (@BDSmovement) May 20, 2020
Many human rights activists and journalists condemned Biden’s remarks and called them racist.
Biden says BDS is not only racist but let’s “Palestinians off the hook for their choices.” Imagine saying this about black people during the boycott of apartheid South Africa. People like Reagan & thatcher struck a similar chord. In 2020 dems sound just like them https://t.co/T3TcVBkAhK
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) May 19, 2020
Biden’s latest campaign tactics have been anti-Chinese ads, dismissing sexual assault allegations, and telling Black people we aren’t Black if we don’t vote for him. And he still found time to remind people he doesn’t support Medicare for All or BDS. #TheResistance pic.twitter.com/XK25d0rfGS
— TheAngrySociologist (@SankofaBrown) May 22, 2020
I really don't know what to say about this. Holy shit. pic.twitter.com/wNAaUIqttn
— jordan (@JordanUhl) May 20, 2020
Biden denounces BDS, saying it "lets Palestinians off the hook for their choices". No Palestinian ever chose to live under military occupation or apartheid. BDS is a nonviolent movement led by oppressed people who've run out of other choices. Biden stands with Trump & oppression. https://t.co/mOgCloUTbM
— Howie Hawkins (@HowieHawkins) May 20, 2020
Biden campaign’s site also adds that he would “urge Arab states to move beyond quiet talks and take bolder steps toward normalization with Israel” and “further expand scientific collaborations with the close US ally. It also reiterates his pledges to maintain existing military aid to Israel while restoring Palestinian economic aid so long as it remains subject to existing restrictions within US law.
During the call, Biden said his “commitment to Israel is absolutely unshakable” and promised to reverse several policies pursued by the administration of US President Donald Trump if elected in November, including restoring diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority and economic and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.