A group of students at the University of New Orleans has launched an initiative to both combat the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement against Israel and call on the U.S. government to stop funding the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The “Allies of Israel” group, which calls itself a “grassroots college organization dedicated to the promotion of the Jewish state of Israel as a sovereign nation rooted in Jewish principles, and serving as a haven for Jews all over the globe,” issued a petition intended “to raise awareness about the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority against the Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank; to call for accountability in the foreign aid given to the Palestinian Authority and ensure it is not used to persecute Palestinians or Israelis.”
The campaign was organized by pro-Israel student activist Chloe Valdary, who told the Haym Salomon Center that “in order to give expression to the Jewish struggle for freedom, my organization ‘Allies of Israel’ has launched a campaign to symbolically divest from the Palestinian Authority.”
“Because we understand many Palestinians are employed by the PA, we do not wish to literally pull off the shelves products which are produced by the PA,” Valdary said. “However, we do seek to stand in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters who are imprisoned and persecuted by the PA. This includes Palestinian women, gays, religious minorities and political dissidents. In addition, we stand in solidarity with Jews in Israel and around the world and call upon the PA to cease sponsoring, financing, and/or encouraging the lynching of Jews and the segregation of Jews from areas that are currently off limits to Jews in Israel.”
Valdary told the Louisiana-based publication Hayride that the petition is “actually pro-Palestinian” because “we (the U.S.) send aid to the PA, and instead of using it to build infrastructure and a good community for their people, they pocket the money and actually persecute their own people.”