Israel on Wednesday welcomed a U.S. congressional resolution opposing the Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel, while Palestinians said the decision was a blow to human rights and free speech.
The House of Representatives passed the resolution by a 398-17 margin on Tuesday, rejecting the boycott movement and its efforts to target U.S. companies that do business with Israel.
The BDS movement promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions of Israeli institutions and businesses in what it says is a nonviolent campaign against Israeli abuses against Palestinians. Israel says the campaign masks a deeper goal of delegitimizing and even destroying the country.
Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, who leads Israel’s efforts against BDS, called the resolution an “important achievement” and a powerful show of bipartisan support for Israel.
“We will work to implement this decision and turn it into practical policy against the efforts of the boycott campaign,” he said.
The BDS movement said the resolution is “based on lies and aims to demonize powerful resistance to Israel’s military occupation and apartheid.”
The boycott movement’s economic impact on Israel has been minimal, but it has enjoyed stronger success in the entertainment and academic worlds, gaining significant support on U.S. college campuses.
Israel and its allies, however, have succeeded in promoting legislation in U.S. states and elsewhere against BDS. In May, for instance, German lawmakers passed a resolution that denounced the boycott movement and described its methods as anti-Semitic — a charge that BDS activists vehemently deny.