Virginia gubernatorial candidate says he supports BDS movement

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Lee Carter says he’s a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

Carter’s comments came during at the Virginia People’s Debate, an online event hosted by a number of progressive organizations. The candidates who attended were asked if they would “discourage or criminalize” BDS if elected Governor. Carter, who is currently a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, was the only candidate who said he supported the movement, but everyone on the call defended the right to boycott.

“No, I will never do that,” said Carter. “I’m a supporter of the BDS movement. I believe that the human rights abuses that are being inflicted upon the Palestinian people are among the worst currently ongoing in the world.”

Carter also criticized the Virginia Israel Advisory Board, which was created to help Israeli businesses in the state.

“There is only one state in America that has agency dedicated to increasing its trade deficit with a foreign country and that agency is the Virginia Israel Advisory Board,” Carter explained. “I don’t think we should have an agency like that on our books for any country, but specifically for a country that has a military occupation over a captive population like the Israeli government does over the Palestinian people.”

The only candidate to not appear at the event was Terry McAuliffe, who was Governor of the state from 2014-2018. McAuliffe has touted his pro-Israel record and championed the state’s connections to the country. Polls show that nearly 50% of the state’s voters are undecided.

A pro-Israel Twitter account accused Carter of being an antisemite after the event and he reiterated his support for the movement in response.

“Say whatever you want about me, I will never stop defending the human rights of the Palestinian people, which are being systemically violated each and every day,” he tweet. “I’m not afraid of your smears.”

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