Tuesday, April 28, 2015

US Congress moves to make BDS illegal en put pressure on EU

The finance committees of the U.S. House and Senate have approved amendments to a trade bill that equate boycotts of West Bank settlement products with boycotts of Israel, strengthening efforts by the Israeli right to silence opponents of West Bank settlements. Both committees approved the amendments unanimously. Each committee then approved its version of the trade bill on a split vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats divided for and against.
The nearly identical amendments require U.S. trade negotiators to “discourage politically motivated actions” by foreign countries and international organizations that aim to “penalize or otherwise limit” commercial relations with Israel or “persons doing business in Israel or in territories controlled by Israel.” The Senate Finance Committee took its action on Wednesday evening and the House Ways and Means Committee

A separate measure approved by the House panel as an amendment to the customs bill goes a step further and takes action against some foreign companies if they shun the settlements, as called for by 16 of the 28 member-states of the European Union.
A press release issued Thursday evening by the main sponsor of the House measure, GOP Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, said the amendments “aim to counter the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel by requiring U.S. trade negotiators to make rejection of BDS a principal trade objective in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the European Union.”
on Thursday evening.

“This is nothing short of a historic win for the U.S.-Israel relationship and a hammer blow to the BDS movement — a campaign solely dedicated to the delegitimization and isolation of our ally Israel,” Roskam was quoted as saying.
 The House amendment was sponsored by Roskam and Democrat Juan Vargas of California. The language was taken from a far more sweeping measure that Roskam submitted to the House in February, the United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act (H.R. 825). It was adopted Thursday night as part of the Ways and Means committee’s markup of a customs bill.
Unlike the amendments adopted this week, Roskam’s larger bill wouldn’t merely “discourage” European boycotts of Israel and the settlements. It also would amend existing law to require direct federal action to prevent boycotts of Israel and the settlements.
Among other things, the Roskam bill would require the president to report to Congress on foreign efforts to boycott Israel or “territories under the control of Israel,” as well as on steps taken by the United States to combat boycotts. It would also amend the New Deal-era Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require that foreign entities issuing stocks or bonds in the United States report any participation in boycotts, as well as any effort by a foreign government to induce them to boycott.

No comments: