Secy. Pompeo denounces boycotts of Israel as anti-Semitic

Secy. Pompeo denounces boycotts of Israel as anti-Semitic

President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy, Avi Berkowitz, was also on the flight, which flew over Saudi Arabia, an accommodation by the Gulf's powerhouse, which has so far resisted USA appeals to normalise ties with Israel.

He said the U.S. opposes the BDS campaign and its associated practices, such as "discriminatory labeling" of Israeli goods and the publication of databases naming companies that operate in Israeli-occupied territories.

But Palestinians and much of the world regard those settlements as illegal under worldwide law.

During his trip, Pompeo is expected a visit Psagot, an illegal Israeli settlement near Ramallah and the site of a winery that has produced a label carrying his name.

In 2019 Trump formally recognized Israel's sovereignty over the area of the strategic plateau that it captured from Syria in 1967 and later annexed in a move not recognized by the United Nations and most countries.

Netanyahu thanked the administration for moving its embassy to contested Jerusalem, abandoning the USA position that Israeli settlements are contrary to global law, recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights and taking a hard line against Iran.

The Palestinian leadership cut ties with Trump White House three years ago, accusing it of pro-Israel bias.

The secretary of state said he supports guidelines for Israeli products made in settlements to be labelled "Made in Israel" or "Product of Israel" when imported to the US.

"For a long time, the State Department took the wrong view of settlements", Pompeo said, but it now recognizes that "settlements can be done in a way that (is) lawful, appropriate and proper".

Many people in Israel were concerned about the long-term impact of these policy changes, said DW's Jerusalem correspondent Tania Krämer.

Trump's outgoing administration has made isolating arch foe Iran a centrepiece of its regional policy.

Pompeo also announced that the USA would brand the global Palestinian-led boycott movement as "anti-Semitic" and bar any groups that participate in it from receiving government funding.

"The simple recognition of this as part of Israel, too, was a decision President Trump made that is historically important and simply a recognition of reality", Pompeo said on Thursday. "It is opportunistic and self-serving, and it damages the chances for peace", Ashrawi told Reuters. Pompeo, like Trump, has yet to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Pompeo warned the Islamic republic in comments Wednesday that the deals the UAE and Bahrain have reached with Israel showed "its influence in the region is waning". They also want to strike a blow to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which supports various economic boycotts against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

Supporters of the BDS campaign strongly deny the charge of anti-Semitism, and insist that they work to peacefully oppose Israel's policies towards Palestinians.

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