Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on incoming U.S. President Joe Biden to defend freedom of expression, including peaceful calls for a boycott against the Israeli regime, and to publicly renounce his predecessor Donald Trump’s legacy of branding human rights groups and activists who criticize the Israeli regime and its settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“The Democratic president should reject some legislation that punishes companies seeking to cut their ties to West Bank settlements, which are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention and complicit in inevitable human rights abuses by the structures,” Eric Goldstein, acting executive director for the Middle East and North Africa at HRW, said Monday.
Goldstein then expressed doubts about Biden’s attempts to end Washington’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in a way that threatens freedom of expression.
The BDS movement was launched in 2005 by more than 170 Palestinian organizations urging “various forms of boycott against Israel until it complies with its international obligations.”
Since then, thousands of volunteers around the world have joined the campaign, which calls on people and groups around the world to cut economic, cultural and academic ties with Tel Aviv in order to realize the Palestinian cause.
Goldstein said the Trump administration has turned the global politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on its head, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited a settlement in the occupied West Bank on Nov. 19, 2020 – the first such visit by a top U.S. politician.
The trip to the Israeli settlement of Psagot took place a year after Pompeo said the settlements do not contradict international law and the long-standing U.S. position.
by Jeremy Abbott – American Correspondent – WPN