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Australia should consider declaring BDS antisemitic

Nov 20, 2020 | AIJAC staff

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel. Photo: US State Department/flickr
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel. Photo: US State Department/flickr

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has encouraged the Australian Government to consider following the lead of Canada, Germany, Austria and now the United States, in declaring the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel antisemitic.

During his visit to Israel this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged other governments to follow his country’s lead in exposing the antisemitic nature of BDS.  

Pompeo confirmed that the US would also reconsider its funding to foreign organisations that support the global BDS campaign. 

The Australian Government currently does not have a policy that prevents Australian funds being provided to organisations that support BDS. The Australian Government also has not issued a statement declaring BDS antisemitic.  

Pompeo’s position on BDS is supported by key friends of Australia. In 2019, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared BDS to be antisemitic and contrary to “Canadian values”. Germany and Austria have made similar declarations. 

“In the context of its ongoing support for a two-state peace, we hope the Australian Government will carefully consider Secretary Pompeo’s announcement that BDS is antisemitic, with a view to possibly making a similar announcement,“ AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said. 

“We hope the Australian Government is discussing enacting a similar process to the US, to audit organisations which receive Australian funding and consider withdrawing funding from any that support boycotts on Israel. 

“This would be consistent with this Government’s decision to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority after learning that Australian money may have been used by the Palestinians to make payments to terrorists and their families. 

“Australia’s aid to organisations in the Middle East must progress peace, not be an obstacle to peace, as the BDS movement is.” 

The global BDS campaign against Israel has become a key tactic to delegitimise and isolate Israel internationally. While BDS advocates claim it is a non-violent human rights movement that supports Palestinian expressions of sovereignty, the leadership of the BDS movement has repeatedly articulated intentions to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state. 

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