A barely noticed clause in the controversial “fast-track” trade bill contains a strong message discouraging agreements with nations involved in boycotting Israel. The legislation was signed into law last Friday following fierce debate that left the anti-BDS (boycott, divest, and sanction) amendment untouched.
“This sends a very strong message,” Malcolm Hoenlein, vice-president and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations told Hamodia. “It is also a warning to European countries that are preparing to rush into Iran.”
Mr. Hoenlein said that despite ongoing debate over the Israeli-Palestinian situation, the addition passed easily as “people are realizing that BDS is not a matter of Israel’s policies, but anti-Israel, if not anti-Semitism.”
The clause addresses moves by foreign governments to participate in the growing BDS movement. It discourages engaging in commerce with “potential trading partners that directly or indirectly prejudice or otherwise discourage commercial activity solely between the United States and Israel.
It also urges the United States trade representative to seek to eliminate politically-motivated economic attacks on Israel by America’s free trade partners.
The BDS movement has an increasingly large following in Europe, as well as on college campuses across America.
The act was signed into law on Friday by the president. However, the State Department later expressed concern over phrasing regarding “Israeli-controlled territories,” saying that it “runs counter to longstanding U.S. policy” towards the disputed territories.
The amendment comes amid a wave of legislation in many states that forbids government investment in companies embracing BDS.