Trump Administration Moves To Bar Any Group Supporting A Boycott of Israel

For years, we have discussed the effort of states to bar individuals, groups, and businesses from state contracts if they support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Other Western nations have also moved to declare BDS “hate speech.” I have previously opposed such laws as unconstitutional and an attack on free speech. I do not support the BDS movement but I believe that it is a form of political speech that should be protected. For that reason, the move this week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is alarming. He has declared that any non-profit groups supporting BDS will be cut off from government funding.The United States State Department has previously targeted BDS supporters but this is the first ban on contracts or grants.  In Jerusalem alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pompeo denounced the BDS movement as a “cancer” and declared “We will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw US government support for such groups.” Pompeo added

 “To advance this policy, I have directed the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to identify organizations that engage in, or otherwise support, the Global BDS Campaign… The United States urges governments around the world to take appropriate steps to ensure that their funds are not provided directly or indirectly to organizations engaged in anti-Semitic BDS activities.”

It is one thing for the United States to oppose the BDS movement as a policy, including barring the funding of any program or campaign that includes a BDS component. It is quite something else to bar any group or organization from contracts or benefits based on their support for BDS. That support may be based on a view of international law or simply the conditions in Palestinian areas. There are political, religious, and social viewpoints that can favor or disfavor the movement.

34 thoughts on “Trump Administration Moves To Bar Any Group Supporting A Boycott of Israel”

  1. I despise the BDS movement. I read comments that talk about fighting the movement, discussing its aim to destroy Israel, supporting Israel and America. I am in total agreement. That’s why I agree with this article.

    In the long runree speech is the only tool that can be effective. The battlefield of ideas is the only place we can mitigate hate’s effects and stop its advances. The battle is human and ongoing,. It won’t be won for generations. Stop looking for these temporary, lazy, feel good, band-aide solutions that spring from fear.It’s past time to get down to the dirty fight of combating horrific ideas with obviously better ideas, presented with more logic, expertise, skill and conviction.

  2. The purported argument that promoting BDS is “free speech” is a bogus argument. BDS is simply a means to an end. And that end, to BDS supporters, is the elimination of Israel and, ultimately, the elimination of Jews from Israel. BDS is simply another form of terrorism. Prof. Turley’s phony argument reminds me of the days of old when the ACLU used to support neo-Nazi parades under the pretext of “free speech.” Of course, today, the ACLU supports neo-Nazis simply because it agrees with their platform. And, to add to the “irony,” neo-Nazis and BDS supporters vigorously oppose genuine free speech.

  3. Pathologizing Zionism, demonizing Israel and attacking Jewish leadership in diaspora and in the homeland will not bring peace to the region. Neither will pathologizing Islam, demonizing Palestine and attacking Arab leadership worldwide and in the League. The Arab Peace Initiative and Israeli Peace Initiative, with their functional centrist equivalents, must be allowed to reach complete reconciliation through continued reciprocal negotiation supported by constructive moves on all sides of the conflict. US foreign policy under Biden should build on gains in Arab-Israeli normalization made under the Trump administration.

    “Abbas Seeks United Stance With Amman, Cairo Ahead of Talking to Biden”:

    At the same time, freedom of speech in the US, including the right to engage in respectful and responsible criticism of Arab League states and of Israel, must be protected.

  4. Quit worrying about “Free speech” and worry about the brainwashing the globalist billionaires accomplish with it and their control of global mass media and social media

    Quite worrying about the Palestinians and worry about Americans. We’re the ones in the vise now.

    Saloth Sar

  5. The BDS Movement is a disguise for a virulent type of anti-Semitism, pure and simple. Stop trying to intellectually justify it. Anyone who supports BDS is an anti-Semite. End of discussion!

  6. Western support of Israel takes place only within the context of unconditional so-called evangelical support of Israel. A mere C ago such evangelical support did not exist. The beginning of the change was The Scofield Reference Bible, allegedly written by a non-scholar and convicted criminal named Scofield, one of the only non-previously published authors published by Oxford Press.

    SCR was the first of many so-called “reference” Bibles interpreting for readers the intended meaning of verses. In the OT Yaweh says to Abraham before Sara (Abraham’s wife) bore any children: “I shall bless those who bless thee, and I shall curse those who curse thee.” Sara later bore Isaac who bore Jacob, and God later (so Bible believers state) gave certain land to Jacob and changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

    Scofield says that where God said “thee” to Abraham in the above verse, God used secret code language referring to the dirt/land now called “Israel.” Note that God never disclosed his secret code language to, well, anyone, not even Abraham, till Scofield came along 2k years later and deciphered God’s secret code.

    If you intend to research this and discover the how and why God used the word “thee” (person) when he secretly meant some Palestinian dirt 2k years later, don’t bother.

    Thanks to Scofield, evangelicals now interpret the verse to mean that Americans owe their blood and treasure to some ME dirt land called Israel and if we don’t give it to them then God will smite us dead. Scofield invented Western Zionism. In the West the term “Christian” is now almost synonymous with Zionism, which a C ago was not the case.

    The West’s largest “evangelical” and Protestant branch is called the Southern Baptist Conference, which mandates any member to church to support Israel and Zionism. It’s baked into the cake. At least one (probably many others) SBC church posts the above verse atop every Sunday “bulletin” to remind those who enter how quickly they would be booted out the door if they disagree with this primacy verse and Scofield’s interpretation of it.

    1. what country is the most staunch opponent of globalism? Israel– the champion of sovereignty as a political concept

      Think that over Princess. Maybe it’s time you quite blaming them and stop worrying about the zionism stuff.

      Do you think Soros or Zuck or Bloomberg like Israel? Oh, not really. They fear Israel and for good reason.

      Look to the billionaires, they are the enemy. Not the sabras

      Saloth Sar

      1. Given a choice I have no doubt if called back into active service which view point I would have the least if any problem in pulling the trigger. The far left long a proponent of victimizing women fits perfectly with the model of the Islamic treatment of women and children.

  7. “Urging” other governments – has that taken shape of reduced US cooperation and aid or is there evidence of such? Obama made a lot of Red Zone threats that never materialized. What might Trump do in these few weeks that’s lasting?

  8. I agree with you, Prof. Turley. Unlike you, I DO support #BDS but it seems it is not really having much effect. Abby Martin has filed a lawsuit against the U of GA for not allowing her to speak because she, like most humane, fair-minded people supports #BDS. A Palestinian-American Speech Pathologist in my home state of TX is also suing because the state of TX will not hire her in the public schools here unless she submits to the State’s demand that she sign a contract declaring she neither supports nor participaters in BDS. #BDS is no different from the international boycott of Apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. Israel is an Apartheid state. Apartheid Israel must end! #BDS!

    1. Israel is not an apartheid state. It was founded in 1948 by the UN as a Jewish state. This was necessary due to the Holocaust, as well as the centuries of violent discrimination and ethnic cleansing. They have the right to defend themselves and to determine who is eligible to become a citizen of Israel. If you want to boycott someone, maybe you should support boycotting terrorist countries and territories, like Iran, Syria, Palestinian territory, etc.

      1. The League of Nations and US established Israel by threat of force, period, full stop. Which Holocaust? The Sun and NYT posted news articles since approximately 1908 Re. several Jewish incidents of genocide, each referring to “6 million” dead innocent Jews. Many races of people have suffered genocide yet Western powers assigned a special word “holocaust” to only one group. Why is that? Why no special word for Russian, Chinese, Cambodian, and Native American genocide? Why is every other race 2nd class to this one particular special class of people?

        Over 50% of Israeli citizens freely choose to live in countries outside Israel, having no use for nor need of Israel for safety, security, well being, and to pursue happiness.

        The US Constitution specifies not one syllable requiring nor mandating the US do anything to maintain the security of any other nation including Israel. Americans as a group and as a nation owe sum total nothing to any foreign nation. (On his way out the door Obama granted Israel, one of the richest nations extant, $38B of US taxpayer paid funds.)

        George Washington in his farewell address: “…avoid permanent foreign entanglements…” Clinton and Obama specifically spit on GW’s words by describing our relationship with Israel as a “permanent bond.”

        1. Jews are indigenous to Israel. They have existed in that location for thousands of years. The land prior to WW1 was under control of the Ottoman Empire. Did you want that defeated empire to establish the political lines dividing countries? Perhaps you want one of the empires before them?

          You say the word holocaust is assigned only to Jews and that there is no special word for Russian, Chinese, Cambodian genocide. Perhaps that is more of an education problem or maybe you have anti-Semitic tendencies?

          Firstly, holocaust means a mass slaughter of people and the Holocaust involves the mass slaughter of European Civilians not just Jews though many might use it in the terms of the 6 million-plus Jews killed. The word has been used for other slaughters such as the slaughter in Rwanda.

          Did you forget the other mass deaths such as the Holomodor (Great Famine) in the Ukraine, or the Great Chinese Famine or the Killing Fields of Cambodia? Those are some of the named slaughters that have been widely used.

          I take especial note of how your animus is directed at the Jews of the area but it leaves out all the other nations of that area that killed Jews and forced Jews to leave in similar numbers as Arabs left Israel because their Arab leaders told them to do so. No, you didn’t. Do you remember the Mufti of Jerusalem’s support for the Nazi extermination of Jews? No again. How about American aid to everyone of Israel’s enemies? Nope. How about all the American aid that goes to the rest of the world. Nope again.

          This focus on the tiniest of nations that is a democracy and has aided nations all over the world including Arab nations and the Palestinians is the only nation that concerns you. That should be troubling to anyone who read your response

      2. Well, no, of course it isn’t. The concatenation of events over a period of 20 years left them with a bloc of predominantly Arab territory they don’t actually want. They’ve attempted various schemes for off-loading the territory or instituting political self-government. Various Arab parties have rejected or sabotaged every one. Because actual self-government is not what they want. They want dead Jews. The BDSholes are irritated with Jews for remaining non-dead and having actual accomplishments over the last century.

    2. It’s funny how ignorant some people can be. Apartheid? How Arabs are represented in the Knesset. They have full rights. That is quite different from the Jews that lived in the Arab nations that had no rights. In fact Arabs in Israel have more rights than a non political Palestinian.

      What is a Palestinian? Was there ever a Palestinian kingdom? Are they a separate race? Is a “Palestinian” with a last name of al Masri a Palestinian? Not really. Al Masri means from Egypt. “Palestinians” were used by their leadership just like some Americans that have no idea of the facts.

    3. she, like most humane, fair-minded people supports #BDS.


      Actual fair-minded people would suggest to the political leadership on the West Bank and Gaza (and their publics, while we’re at it) to come up with some constructive political goals.

  9. If the legislative branch is going to execute laws and policy, there is no need for an executive branch.

    Holding power is the nature of being elected.

    The legislative branch cannot usurp the power of the executive branch.

    The executive branch must have the power to set executive policy or it must be abolished.

    Elected executive officials have the power to hire without compulsory, unconstitutional and biased affirmative action, for example.

    Elected officials are periodically directly responsible to voters.

    The voters, the people, have the power

    (i.e. when elections are not rigged by communists [liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs]).

  10. Professor Turley has crossed the line into insanity. The BDS movement isn’t a free speech issue, it is a free commerce issue. It is essentially blackmail/extortion. Does Professor Turley really support blackmail/extortion?

  11. Turley: “I do not support the BDS movement but I believe that it is a form of political speech that should be protected. For that reason, the move this week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is alarming. He has declared that any non-profit groups supporting BDS will be cut off from government funding.”

    Since when does the right to free speech include the “right” to feed at the public trough? “Should be protected” does not mean “should be funded by the government.”

    1. He’s a lawyer and he’s making a Jesuitical distinction between two modes of public funding. The more general issue – state patronage for philanthropies – he neglects.

  12. I think Turley has it wrong. It is not an attack on free speech. It is an attack on those forcing taxpayers to pay for the free speech of those that promote BDS something the US government is against.

  13. That support may be based on a view of international law or simply the conditions in Palestinian areas. There are political, religious, and social viewpoints that can favor or disfavor the movement.

    Then they should solicit funding through international sources or the Palestinians. They are not entitled to US taxpayer funding.

    1. If I understand his point, it’s that the policy is designed to debar anyone who endorses BDS from receiving a government grant or contract, as opposed to debarring grants to programs actually promoting BDS. My solution would be to end the government funding pipeline philanthropic organizations tout court.

      1. My solution would be to end the government funding pipeline philanthropic organizations tout court.

        Is that any different than what my comment stated?

        1. Yes it is. I don’t want public agencies providing patronage to any philanthropic body except if exigent circumstances demand. I doubt the Red Cross has a position on BDS, so that exception wouldn’t apply here.

  14. “I do not support the BDS movement but I believe that it is a form of political speech that should be protected. ”

    Why must BDS be protected with taxpayer dollars?

    1. The 1st Amendment protects free speech. What Trump and Pompeo (with Trump’s blessing) do Re. BDS is just the Trumpian version of Biden’s plan to tax gun owners out of their guns and magazines. It is hypocrisy to separate the two.

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