The U.S. will label exports from Jewish settlements as Israeli, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday as he made a historic visit to a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
“All producers within areas where Israel exercises the relevant authorities… will be required to mark goods as ‘Israel,’ ’Product of Israel,’ or ‘Made in Israel’ when exporting to the United States,” Pompeo said.
The Obama administration’s guidelines designated that all settlement products be labeled as “Made in West Bank”.
The announcement came on the heels of another pro-Israel declaration made hours earlier by Pompeo, in which he stated that going forward, the U.S. would deem the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as “anti-Semitic.”
“We will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support for such groups,” Pompeo said in a joint press briefing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We want to stand with all other nations that recognize the BDS movement for the cancer that it is,” Pompeo said.
Netanyahu thanked Pompeo for his “unwavering support” of Israel, throughout his tenure as CIA director and then as secretary of state, and went on to say that under President Donald Trump the US-Israeli relationship had “reached unprecedented heights.”
Pompeo on Thursday became the first secretary of state to ever visit a Jewish settlement.
Until the Trump administration, the U.S. had designated the West Bank and the Golan Heights as “occupied territories.” In January, Pompeo denounced a longstanding State Department legal opinion declaring Jewish settlements in the West Bank to be a violation of international law as “deeply flawed.” Months earlier, he issued a more tempered declaration, stating that the U.S. “no longer recognizes Israeli settlements as per se inconsistent with international law.”
The Psagot winery visit came en route to the Golan Heights, in another first for a US secretary of state. Last year, President Donald Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan.
On Wednesday, after media reports emerged of the planned visit, dozens of Palestinians protested outside the winery and some threw stones at soldiers guarding the area. The radical leftwing Israeli Peace Now group also protested outside the winery as Pompeo arrived in an Israeli military helicopter.
“It is a blessing to be here in Judea and Samaria,” Pompeo wrote in the Psagot visitor’s book, using the biblical names for the West Bank.
“May I not be the last Secretary of State to visit this beautiful land,” he wrote.
Pompeo also paid a private visit to the Christian baptismal site “Qasr al-Yehud” near Jericho in the West Bank, considered to be Christianity’s third holiest site.
After Pompeo disavowed the Jimmy Carter-era memo deeming settlements illegal, the owner of the Psagot winery named a new series of wine after the secretary of state and sent him a case of the wine.
Pompeo in the past also broke from U.S. policy by addressing the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem. He also became the first top American diplomat to make an official visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
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