Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel this week on what might be his final trip to the country as Secretary of State. He used the occasion to deepen two of the most odious features of U.S. foreign policy: support for the colonial occupation of Palestinian land, and warmongering against Iran.
His visit coincided with the arrival of a Bahraini high-level delegation led by the country’s foreign minister. This takes on added significance following the recent normalization deal between Bahrain and Israel, one of multiple agreements brokered by the Trump administration under a broader campaign to isolate the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.
Today, Pompeo released a statement saying stepping up the U.S. government’s witch hunt targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which aims to place economic pressure on Israel to cease its oppression of Palestinians. Ridiculously claiming that, “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism”, Pompeo announced, “The United States is, therefore, committed to countering the Global BDS Campaign as a manifestation of anti-Semitism. To advance this policy, I have directed the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to identify organizations that engage in, or otherwise support, the Global BDS Campaign.”
Adding insult to injury, Pompeo visited a winery constructed in the occupied West Bank, becoming the first top-ranking official from any foreign country to visit the illegal settlements which are prohibited under international law. He also visited the Golan Heights, a piece of Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967. Even amidst massive land grabs and growing global condemnation of the apartheid system imposed on Palestinians, Israel has enjoyed a newly strengthened position in the region with new partners in the Gulf courtesy of its close allyship with the United States.
These developments have both served to bolster Israel’s standing while simultaneously alienating and atagonzing Iran, a mutual target among the nations participating in these normalization agreements. At a press conference held this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu and the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Pompeo proclaimed how these agreements “tell malign actors like the Islamic republic of Iran that their influence in the region is waning, and they are ever more isolated -and shall forever be- until they change their direction.”
This recent development comes as the Trump administration renews its commitment to economically strangling Iran through a new series of sanctions that are planned to expand to more and more sectors of the Iranian economy each week until the end of Trump’s term.
According to the New York Times, Trump even went so far as to have considered carrying out military strikes on Iran last week. The Times reporters’ sources say that after learning about the country’s latest efforts to enrich uranium — something Iran like all countries has the legal right to do — Trump asked his military advisors to present him with plans laying out his options for an attack on the country’s nuclear facilities. Such a move could have easily escalated into a catastrophic regional conflict.
Both imperialist aggression against Iran and the expansion of Israeli apartheid remain a top priority for the Trump administration, even on the eve of his departure from office.