During his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson vowed to make it a priority to counter the global Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel in the interest of preserving relations between the U.S. and Israel.
To achieve this, the former ExxonMobil CEO first suggested the U.S. make abundantly clear to countries that participate in the Palestinian-led BDS effort that their involvement "will shade our view of them." Tillerson also endorsed using trade negotiations to gain leverage over countries supporting the BDS movement and encourage them to disengage. The U.S. must "recommit" to supporting Israel as its "most important" partner in the Middle East, he said.
Tillerson also addressed the U.N. Security Council resolution last month that condemned Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank, saying he does not support the U.N. and other negotiating bodies intervening in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. "This issue has to be settled between the Israelis and the Palestinians," Tillerson said. "No one can be coerced into coming to the negotiating table. That will not lead to a solution."