Dilawar Syed’s affiliation with the BDS movement could hurt his confirmation

Dilawar Syed/Twitter • April 24, 2021 5:00 am

President Joe Biden’s nominee for a top Small Business Administration job sits on the board of a group that lobbies in favor of the anti-Israel boycott movement and describes Israel as an “apartheid” state.

Dilawar Syed, Biden’s pick for deputy administrator of the SBA, has served on the board of the Muslim-American advocacy group Emgage Action since 2017, according to his public financial disclosure form submitted as part of his nomination process. Emgage Action is a staunch defender of the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) that seeks to hurt Israel with economic pressure.

The stance could be an obstacle for Syed ahead of his confirmation vote by the Senate Small Business Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.), one of the Democratic Party’s most vocal opponents of BDS. Emgage Action denounced Cardin’s 2017 anti-BDS legislation as “unconstitutional.”

Emgage Action has described the BDS movement as a “constitutionally protected nonviolent response that seeks to end the occupation” and says it “support[s]the right to boycott, divest, and sanction, as well as the Right of Return of Palestinians.” The organization also describes Israel as an “apartheid” state, stating on its website that Palestinians “continue to suffer under racist, undemocratic Israeli apartheid rule that steals their land and destroys their homes to make way for illegal Jewish settlements.”

Syed is CEO at the health care company Lumiata. He served on the White House Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders under President Obama and as a liaison with the SBA and the Department of Commerce, according to the White House.

Christians United for Israel Action Fund, a pro-Israel advocacy group, denounced Syed’s nomination, calling Emgage’s positions “fringe” and “contrary to President Biden’s own policies.”

“Dilawar Syed is the wrong choice for Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA). His association with Emgage Action, which lobbies against anti-BDS legislation and has taken a range of other positions that are both outside the


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