Pompeo to 'announce process' to label NGOs, including Oxfam and Amnesty International, as 'anti-Semitic'

Pompeo to 'announce process' to label NGOs, including Oxfam and Amnesty International, as 'anti-Semitic'
Although Pompeo is not set to name any specific organisations, prominent international NGOs such as Amnesty International and Oxfam could be among those labeled as anti-Semitic.
2 min read
12 November, 2020
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reportedly been pushing for the move [Getty]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will create a new process by which Washington can label organisations and NGOs as "anti-Semitic", Politico reported on Wednesday.

Three people close to the issue confirmed the move, saying Pompeo may hold off on making an announcement. 

Although Pompeo will not name any specific organisations, a Politico report from last month revealed that Washington is considering declaring certain prominent international NGOs, such as Amnesty International and Oxfam, as "anti-Semitic" due to their links with groups critical of Israeli actions.

Politico was the first to report that the State Department was weighing up whether to advise other governments not to support the so-called "anti-Semitic" NGOs. 

The report is expected to come from the office of Elan Carr, the US special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.

The declaration would state that it is not US policy to support groups such as Oxfam, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and encourage other governments to cut their support - including financial.

As evidence, the report allegedly cites the groups perceived support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for various boycotts against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.

The declaration is also expected to cite reports and press releases from various groups criticising Israeli settlements.

None of the human rights groups have officially supported the BDS movement, but all have to some extent criticised Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

The exact effect such a declaration would have is unclear but it could jeopardise some funding the groups receive. 

Politico reported in October that Pompeo was pushing for the move. 

The declaration would appeal to Trump's evangelical Christian base, which staunchly backs Israel.

But such a report could lead to a considerable backlash, with targeted NGOs possibly pursuing litigation to push back against the move.

Some employees at the US State Department are opposed to the declaration, Politico reported, with department lawyers warning of retaliatory lawsuits.

The named civil society groups all deny any allegations of anti-Semitism.

Agencies contributed to this report

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