US will 'reject BDS,' fight unfair treatment of Israel

"The United States and Israel affirm that they will continue to work together to combat all efforts to boycott or delegitimize Israel," read the declaration signed Thursday.

 The US and Israeli flags are screened on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City as a welcoming to US president Joe Biden , on July 13, 2022 (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
The US and Israeli flags are screened on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City as a welcoming to US president Joe Biden , on July 13, 2022
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

The United States and Israel rejected the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and similar anti-Israel efforts in a joint strategic partnership declaration signed on Thursday. 

"While fully respecting the right to freedom of expression, they [the US and Israel] firmly reject the BDS campaign."

The Jerusalem US-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration, 2022

"The United States and Israel affirm that they will continue to work together to combat all efforts to boycott or delegitimize Israel, to deny its right to self-defense, or to unfairly single it out in any forum, including at the United Nations or the International Criminal Court," reads the declaration. "While fully respecting the right to freedom of expression, they [the US and Israel] firmly reject the BDS campaign." 

The UN has long faced accusations of undue focus on the State of Israel. In early June, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price responded to the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry into the situation in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza by saying that "the COI in its current form is a continuation of a longstanding pattern of unfairly singling out Israel.”

Illegitimate criticism of Israel

The declaration also touched on the intersection of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. The determinations of what is legitimate criticism of Israel and what is antisemitism has been at the forefront of debates about the competing definitions of antisemitism. The definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which was adopted by the Knesset on June 22, contends that some criticisms of Israel cross into the realm of antisemitism, in line with the text of the US-Israel declaration. Some competing definitions of antisemitism do not see criticism of Israel as antisemitism. 

 "The two countries will use the tools at their disposal to fight every scourge and source of antisemitism and to respond whenever legitimate criticism crosses over into bigotry and hatred or attempts to undermine Israel’s rightful and legitimate place among the family of nations," read the declaration. "In this context, they express their deep concern over the global surge in antisemitism and reassert their commitment to counter this ancient hatred in all of its manifestations. "

 US president Joe Biden meets with Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, on July 14, 2022. Joe Biden on his first official visit to Israel since becoming US president.  (credit: EMIL SALMAN/POOL) US president Joe Biden meets with Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, on July 14, 2022. Joe Biden on his first official visit to Israel since becoming US president. (credit: EMIL SALMAN/POOL)
What is BDS?

BDS is an international movement that seeks to use economic, cultural and academic soft power measures to end Israel's military administration of the disputed territories, implement the Palestinian "right of return," and make Palestinians citizens with full rights.

The movement has been accused by pro-Israel activists and organizations of promoting antisemitic rhetoric within its ranks, and it is alleged that its policy prescriptions and objectives seek the dissolution of the State of Israel.

Omri Nahmias contributed to this report.