WASHINGTON — Senator Charles Schumer used harsh rhetoric against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement on Monday, saying the movement is a modern form of anti-Semitism.
"It is very suspicious that those who promote boycotting Israel do not seek boycotts against any other nations in the world, particularly those nations in the Middle East whose human rights records include hanging dissenters from cranes in city squares and imprisoning and torturing critics of the government.," Schumer told the audience at this year's conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
"I believe that those who call for boycotts of Israel without calling for boycotts of other neighboring nations whose human rights records are in fact reprehensible are practicing, whether they know it or not, whether they admit it or not, a modern form of what we call anti-Semitism," Schumer said to rousing applause.
Schumer compared BDS to historical injustices against Jews, like restrictions on where Jews could settle and what occupations they could hold: "The word that describes all of these acts is a very simple one: anti-Semitism."
"We will succeed if we strongly and constantly oppose those who call for boycotts of Israel and expose their double standard," Schumer said.
Schumer drew a line in the sand over whether Israel should change any of its policies to avoid further boycotts.
"One further thought on these boycotts. Those who even with the best of intentions warn Israel that she must make agreements she feels unjust because the boycotting will only get worse in the future, those people have it all wrong," Schumer said.
"Those quote-unquote friends should be condemning the boycotts in every possible way and weakening them," he said.
AIPAC'S new president Bob Cohen also mentioned BDS in his remarks Sunday at the conference, calling for AIPAC to "fight exclusion with inclusion."
Updated to reflect the transcript of Schumer's remarks.
Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
Contact Rosie Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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