US Just Backed Right to Boycott Israel, But will Trump Agree?

Part of BDS campaign to spread awareness of its work aimed at boycotting Israel. (Photo: Courtesy BDS, file)

Michael F. Brown reported in the Electronic Intifada on November 9 that the “The US State Department this week joined the European UnionSwedenIreland and the Netherlands in recognizing the right to boycott Israel.”

Brown added, “but whether this position will survive under the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump is an open question, given his history of erratic statements on the Middle East.”

“State Department spokesperson Mark Toner was asked on Monday if the US has a view on a bill introduced in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, that would bar supporters of BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – from entering the country.

“Our strong opposition to boycotts and to sanctions of the state of Israel is unchanged and well known,” Toner said.

But then he added, “We value freedom of expression, even in cases where we do not agree with the political views espoused.”

This stance aligns with the formulations of the EU’s top foreign policy official and two of the bloc’s member governments – the Netherlands and Ireland.

By noting that “we don’t believe that individuals or groups that want only to express their political views should be prohibited from doing so,” Toner signaled the US government’s objection to the Israeli legislation.

When asked if he agreed that BDS “is actually a nonviolent, peaceful effort” in support of Palestinian rights, Toner was succinct in his response: “Yes.””

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