President Obama signed a trade bill that includes measures against European efforts to boycott Israel.
President Barack Obama fixed his signature on Tuesday to a trade bill that also contains legislation combating the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Europe.
After the US Congress on Wednesday gave final approval to a measure that could result in punitive measures against European companies that boycott Israel, Obama added his signature to the bill and made it law.
The measure, which was already approved by the US Senate last month, is part of the large bill called the Trade Act of 2015. Under the bill’s Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the president would be granted wide leeway to reach a trade deal with the European Union (EU). Congress would get the chance to vote on the deal, but not on its various provisions.
The amendment discourages actions by potential US trading partners, such as the EU, that prejudice or discourage trade between the US and Israel, in particular “politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel and to seek the elimination of politically motivated non-tariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce imposed on the State of Israel.” It also seeks “the elimination of state-sponsored unsanctioned foreign boycotts against Israel or compliance with the Arab League Boycott of Israel by prospective trading partners.”
Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, and one of the authors of the anti-BDS legislation, said that the passage of this landmark law was a clear message to those who wish to combat Israel through boycotts.
“Congress will not be complicit in the marginalization of our ally Israel by watching these attacks from the sidelines. Instead, we have decided to fight back against the BDS movement and ensure the continued strength of the US-Israel relationship,” he stated.