Jerusalem   -  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was Thursday set to make the first visit by an American top diplomat to the Israel-occupied Golan Heights after an expected stop in  a West Bank Jewish settlement, infuriating Palestinians.

The envoy of US President Donald Trump, who has made a staunchly pro-Israel stance a hallmark of his turbulent term in power, also called the pro-Palestinian BDS movement a “cancer” that Washington would label as anti-Semitic. 

After meeting close ally Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pompeo announced that “today I will get a chance to visit the Golan Heights,” the strategic territory the Jewish state seized from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Last year, Trump’s administration made the controversial decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty in the Golan -- a move Pompeo on Thursday called “historically important and simply a recognition of the reality”.

Pompeo also announced a new strongly pro-Israeli policy, stating that from now Washington would designate as “anti-Semitic” the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

“We will immediately take steps to identify organisations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw US government support for such groups,” Pompeo said in a joint appearance with Nentanyahu.   

“We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is.”

Israel sees BDS as a strategic threat and has long accused it of anti-Semitism, and a law passed in 2017 allows Israel to ban foreigners with links to BDS.

Activists strongly deny the charge, comparing the embargo to the economic isolation that helped bring down apartheid in South Africa.