Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has declared her opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement (BDS), dedicated to putting economic pressure on Israel, in a letter to Clinton donor and pro-Israel billionaire Haim Saban.
“BDS seeks to punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict,” Clinton wrote in the letter. “This is not the path to peace.”
The BDS movement, started in Palestine by civil society groups and academics, advocates severing business ties with Israeli businesses and universities. While it has gained traction in the US and Europe as a non-violent opposition to Israel, its critics say the movement as a whole does not support a two-state solution but the merging of both peoples into one country.
In her letter, Clinton goes on to compare the sanctions movement to “anti-Semitism” and violent episodes like the shooting at a Kosher deli in Paris in January.
Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world — especially in Europe — we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people. After all, it was only six months ago that four Jews were targeted and killed in a Kosher supermarket in Paris as they did their Sabbath shopping.
Clinton also wrote that she opposed comparing Israel, which militarily occupies the Palestinian territories, to South Africa, another target of sanctions during its years as an apartheid regime.
She asked how she might work with Saban to “fight back against future attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel.”
Saban is a longtime Clinton donor, and the former Secretary of State is a frequent guest at his Davos-style thought-leader forum on the Middle East.
“I hope she will run. She would be a wonderful president,” Saban told an Israeli newspaper in 2013. “If it happens, we will of course pitch in with full might. Seeing her in the White House is a big dream of mine.”
Hillary Clinton’s letter against the BDS movement pic.twitter.com/kVzFauZOMU
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) July 6, 2015