State Department’s decision against BDS violates freedom of expression, said Amnesty
In a joint press with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued the US will label the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as “anti-Semitic.”
“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,” he said.
Responding to the United States Department of State announcement, Amnesty issued a statement stating that such decision “violates freedom of expression and is a gift to those who seek to silence, harass, intimidate and oppress those standing up for human rights around the world.”
“This is simply the latest attack from a US government determined to undermine the universality of human rights and the global fight against racism and discrimination, including antisemitism,” saud Bob Goodfellow, the Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.
Goodfellow also stated that “advocating for boycotts, divestment and sanctions is a form of non-violent advocacy and of free expression that must be protected.”
He also said that instead of taking such decisions and attacking BDS activities, the US should stop such measures and ensure that BDS advocates are free to “express their views and take forward their campaigns without harassment or threats of prosecution.”
In addition, Goodfellow declared that this decision also “hurts Jewish people by equating Israel with Judaism and likening criticism of Israeli government policies and practices to antisemitism. It undermines our work in the Middle East and other regions to protect the rights of religious and other minorities.”
Amnesty has also confirmed its continued support to its “Israeli and Palestinian colleagues, including BDS activists, who like human rights defenders around the world, speak up when justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.”