Dilawar Syed: Board Member of Emgage Action Supports BDS Policy That Threatens Peace in Middle East

Monday, June 21, 2021 // Research

Dilawar Syed, Biden’s nominee for Deputy Administrator for the Small Business Administration, is a curious pick considering his current affiliation with Emgage Action, a group dedicated on actively sabotaging peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine according to a large bipartisan majority in Congress. Emgage Action is a vocal proponent for the collapse of Middle East peace through the the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

On the Board of Emgage Action

According to his disclosure on OGE Form 278, Syed lists his current status as a Member of the Board of Emgage Action, a position he’s held since 2017.

While Syed sat as a board member, Emgage Action actively supported the BDS movement. Following Cardin’s 2019 resolution, they released a document favorably defending the BDS movement and criticizing its detractors in government:

“Emgage Action fully opposes any legislation, including S.1, that proposes restrictions on boycotts against any foreign countries. “

Again in 2020, Emgage Action doubled down on their support for BDS, “We support the right to boycott, divest, and sanction….”

Overwhelming Opposition to BDS Movement in Congress

In March 2019, Senator Cardin recognized the threat of the BDS movement and highlighted key concerns with, “…the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States and globally….” Along with this statement he issued a resolution to “…oppose efforts designed to delegitimize Israel or circumvent direct negotiations, specifically the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel.”

Senator Cardin (D-MD) and 69 other Senators called out the obstinate and harmful conduct of the BDS movement in the same 2019 resolution:

“Whereas the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) targeting Israel is a campaign that does not favor a two-state solution and that seeks to exclude the State of Israel and the Israeli people from the economic, cultural, and academic life of the rest of the world”

Over two-thirds of the Senators wanted peace discussions in the Middle East to continue while the BDS movement seeks to disrupt the negotiations.

As Cardin further clarifies:

In the House, Rep. Bradley Scott Schneider (D-IL 10) sponsored H. Res. 246 which overwhelmingly passed the House on July 23, 2019 by a vote of 398-17. The resolution criticized the “destructive” nature of the BDS movement towards peace:

“Whereas the Global BDS Movement promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment, and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace and a two-state solution.”

It should be noted that the BDS movement is not large, but rather consists of a small dissenting faction of progressives focused on using bullying tactics and shame to discourage peace in the Middle East. In fact, they are against any compromise at all.


In 2019, 398 Representatives and 70 Senators – over 87% of Congress at the time –  opposed the BDS movement, in favor of continued peace negotiations in the Middle East.


Nomination Leaves More Questions Than Answers

  • Why is Syed in a leadership position of an activist organization working to sabotage peace between Israel and Palestine?
  • Why is Biden on the wrong side of his own party, and the vast majority in Congress, with the selection of Dilawar Syed for the #2 leadership position at the Small Business Administration?
  • Knowing Emgage Action is actively bullying companies to oppose peace in the Middle East and Dilawar Syed is in a top leadership position there, why would Biden nominate Syed to a federal agency whose primary purpose is to help, not shame small U.S. companies?