The US has declared as anti-Semitic a prominent international movement which calls for a complete boycott of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) was “a cancer”, adding the US would stop funding groups linked to it.
Israel has long claimed BDS opposes the country’s very existence and is motivated by anti-Semitism.
BDS rejects the charge, saying Israel is using it as a cover for its actions.
Mr Pompeo announced the move on a visit to Jerusalem.
“We will immediately take steps to identify organisations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw US government support for such groups,” he said, standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is.”
Formed in 2005, BDS has become prominent in many countries around the world. It calls for a total boycott of Israel, including cultural, economic and academic, over what it considers as Israeli repression of Palestinian rights.
HRW condemned the US’ latest move as “undermining the common fight against the scourge of antisemitism”.
“Americans have a long history of supporting peaceful boycotts to promote social justice and human rights… The Trump administration has no business trying to tar groups because they back boycotts.”