Will Obama Sign Israel Trade Bill regularizing Colonies in Palestine, Discouraging BDS?

By IMEMC | – –

US President Barack Obama reportedly intends to sign a sweeping trade agreement which includes provisions that fail to differentiate between Israel and illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as discourage the boycott of Israeli goods.

The agreement — H.R. 644: Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 — was passed 75-20 on Thursday, and includes a provision that no US court can enforce judgement from a foreign court on a US citizen who “conducts business operations in Israel, or any territory controlled by Israel.”

The provision, in effect, allows US citizens immunity from conducting trade with illegal Israeli settlements, while its terminology fails to distinguish Israeli settlements from the state of Israel, violating the US’ official line against the construction of settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The White House, in a statement released Thursday regarding the agreement, said: “As with any bipartisan compromise legislation, there are provisions in this bill that we do not support.”

Of those provisions that the Obama administration did not support was, according to Ma’an, a provision that “contravenes longstanding US policy towards Israel and the occupied territories, including with regard to Israeli settlement activity,” the statement said.

Despite the contravention, Obama plans to sign the agreement into law “to help strengthen enforcement of the rules and level the playing field for American workers and businesses.”

The agreement also includes a provision that in creating commercial partnerships with foreign countries, the US should “discourage politically motivated boycotts of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel.”

The US government opposes the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and while US law requires that products made in illegal Israeli settlements may not be labeled “Made in Israel,” the law is rarely enforced.

Israel has been struggling to tackle a growing Palestinian-led boycott campaign which has had a number of high-profile successes abroad.

The BDS movement aims to exert political and economic pressure over Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in a bid to repeat the success of the campaign which ended apartheid in South Africa.

However, BDS initiatives have also faced pushback abroad, notably in France, where a court ruled in October that a group of activists advocating for BDS were guilty under French hate speech legislation.

Via IMEMC

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

CNN from two weeks ago: Obama speaks at Israeli embassy amid thaw in relations

4 Responses

  1. Very depressing. I guess it is “game over” for Palestinians, and those who sympathize with them. Maybe the U.S. will accept them as refugees now, having done so much to evict them from their homes and deny them the rights of citizenship.

  2. Dear Professor Cole

    Sadly BDS is to be criminalsied in UK though this measure probably contravenes European Law

    “Under the new rules all contracting authorities including local councils, quangos and universities which receive the majority of their funding from the Government will lose the freedom to take ethical decisions about whom they purchase goods and services from. The only exemption will be UK-wide sanctions decided by the Government in Westminster. Government sources said the ban could also apply to student union boycotts but added this was a “grey area”.

    A spokeswoman for the National Union of Students said they were “concerned by any external pressure that could prevent student unions taking decisions on any issue that affects the students they represent.”

    Mr Hancock said the current position where local authorities had autonomy to make ethical purchasing decisions was “undermining” Britain’s national security.”

    Oh really Mr Hancock?

    link to independent.co.uk

    I do not feel comfortable acquiescing in this travesty or in colluding with these killers of schoolchildren.

    I do not feel comfortable thinking of the 1930s slogan “Kauf nicht bei Juden”

    See you in the reeducation camp!

  3. Wonderful news. BDS is an antisemitic, racist organization, a magnet for ignorant, bigoted useful idiots.

  4. Obama is just pulling a Bill Clinton: Make as many rich friends happy just before leaving Office as possible and get those $250,000 “Thank You” notes from the rich after leaving Office.
    Worked for Bill, he is worth $100,000,000 now and Hillary will best him if she gets elected.
    I’m dumbstruck by how people just except this.

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