(Long Island, NY) Congressman Lee Zeldin, co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement condemning the growing Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses across America:
“In recent years, there have been far too many incidents of anti-Semitism on college campuses.
Just recently, I spoke to a student who attends UC-Berkeley who told me that he has had multiple professors put maps up on the board in classrooms of the Middle East that say “Palestine” in place of Israel. There are even groups that fund an anti-Israel movement on college campuses, including the Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that promotes terrorism and the destruction of Israel. Just earlier this month, at San Francisco State University, members of the Students for Justice in Palestine marched into an event where the Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat, was speaking to students. The students began shouting anti-Semitic statements, shutting down the event, while administrators did nothing to assist.
Sadly, this is not just an issue in other parts of the country. Many colleges right here in New York are involved in this anti-Semitic effort. Students for Justice in Palestine hosted a protest at CUNY Hunter College, which was previously promoted through anti-Semitic announcements, where students were chanting anti-Semitic phrases on campus. Administration at Hunter College even defended the rally, saying it was not anti-Semitic, until videos surfaced that proved otherwise and they were under scrutiny for not condemning the event on their campus.
Throughout my visits to synagogues here in the First Congressional District, and around the New York metropolitan area, I have met with many Americans concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism, which has clearly become a generational issue. Growing up Jewish, I didn’t experience anti-Semitism and I had once hoped that I was part of the first generation of what would be many generations that would no longer have to experience anti-Semitism. We are now going backwards instead of forwards, and my daughters, who are currently in Hebrew School, and their generation deserve better; we must right this wrong for their generation.
With the influx of the BDS Movement, and other hurtful anti-Semitic rhetoric poisoning our colleges around the nation, we must stand together to prevent the hate from spreading. In a region rife with civil war and conflict, we must also do all we can to protect Israel and the important values of freedom and democracy it seeks to uphold. Israel is the strongest ally to the United States and our greatest strategic partner in the Middle East, which is why we must always remain committed to building a stronger relationship between our two nations.
Last August, during my trip to Israel, I met with top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who all say that the BDS issue is one of the most significant challenges that must be overcome. At a time when her neighbors are unstable and Iran threatens both of our nations’ security, the U.S. should show as much support as possible. This anti-Semitic ideology, which harms Israel and her economy, as well as Jewish people around the world, should not be accepted in any manner in the United States or any other nation. No one, no group and no country should incite hateful anti-Semitic rhetoric and persuade businesses to boycott goods based off of one’s religion and culture. If there is ever a hope to resolve the dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, the BDS Movement and anti-Semitism must be stopped not just in the United States, but around the world.”
Congressman Lee Zeldin, the only Jewish Republican in the House, has supported several pieces of legislation condemning the BDS movement, including cosponsoring two bills, H.R. 4514, the Combating BDS Act of 2016, and H.R. 4555, the Non-Discrimination of Israel in Labeling Act, both of which condemn and attempt to resolve the BDS movement.