Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chair Mark Levenson, Esq. released the following statement:
From the bottom of our heart, all of us at the Zionist Organization of America thank President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a series of important actions they took today and yesterday to end discriminatory anti-Israel labeling regulations; affirm the rights of the Jewish state to Judea/Samaria and the Golan; stop the cancerous scourge of antisemitic anti-Israel Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (“BDS”); and curb Iranian terrorism. We are so grateful for these latest actions:
- Secretary Pompeo’s visits today to the Psagot Winery in Judea and to the Golan Heights: We are thrilled that Secretary Pompeo visited Psagot winery, in Benjamin, Israel, in the Judean Hills near Jerusalem. Psagot is land lawfully guaranteed to the Jewish state, that Jordan illegally seized in 1948, and that Israel recovered in 1967. Left wing media outlets such as The New York Times wrongly claimed that Pompeo’s visit today was to the “occupied West Bank.” Israel is not a mere “occupier” of this land. Israel has the right to this area under international law. Ditto for the Golan, which was part of the original mandate to Israel. We are grateful to Secretary Pompeo for his visit affirming Israel’s rights.
- Non-Discriminatory Israeli Products Labeling Guidance: We are thrilled that the State Department announced today that products made in “Area C” – areas of Judea and Samaria under Israeli administration – will now be required to be marked “Israel”, “Product of Israel”, or “Made in Israel” when exported to the United States. (“Marking of Country of Origin,” Press Statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Nov. 19, 2020.) Secretary Pompeo explained: “This approach recognizes that Area C producers operate within the economic and administrative framework of Israel and their goods should be treated accordingly.” This new labeling guidance is an important step in the battle against anti-Israel BDS. This change came after a letter sent by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
The State Department’s new guidance reverses the Obama administration’s harmful labeling guidance, issued in 2016, requiring Israeli products made in Judea/Samaria to be labeled as from the “West Bank” and not as from Israel. Prior to the Obama administration’s despicable labeling guidance, an Obama state department official had admitted that, “such labeling could be perceived as ‘a step on the way to a boycott,’” and said that boycotts would be opposed by that administration.
The State Department’s new guidance also demonstrates the wrongfulness of the EU’s discriminatory antisemitic labeling requirements.
The ZOA has been supporting efforts to reverse the Obama administration’s discriminatory anti-Israel order, including legislation to do so sponsored by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK). (S. 2474: Fair Treatment of Israel in Product Labeling Act of 2016.) We are extremely pleased that the Trump administration has now acted to end anti-Israel discriminatory product labeling. We urge any new potential president to leave the new guidance in place.
- Additional Steps to Counteract Anti-Israel BDS: We are pleased that Secretary Pompeo also announced today the United States’ strong opposition to BDS “and practices that facilitate it, such as discriminatory labeling and the publication of databases of companies that operate in Israel or Israeli-controlled areas”; directed “the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism to identify organizations that engage in, or otherwise support, the Global BDS Campaign”; and is reviewing the use of State Department funds to assure that they are not used to support BDS. (“Identifying Organizations Engaged in Anti-Semitic BDS Activities,” Press Statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Nov. 19, 2020.)
Secretary Pompeo’s formal press statement also made it clear that “anti-Zionism is antisemitism” and that BDS is “a manifestation of antisemitism” that the U.S. is committed to counteracting. In addition, in his remarks to the press in Jerusalem today, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Secretary Pompeo stood together with all nations that recognize that BDS is a “cancer.”
Today’s moves will help counteract the Obama administration’s orchestration of the passage of horrifically anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolution 2334, in December 2016, just prior to leaving office.
- New IRGC Sanctions: We were pleased to see that the administration issued new sanctions on Iranian IRGC officials yesterday, to counter Iran’s malign activities. As Secretary Pompeo also explained today and yesterday, the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign on Iran is working. (“The Importance of Sanctions on Iran,” U.S. State Dept., Nov. 18, 2020.)