House, Senate Panels Adopt Measures to Combat Boycott of Israel

Apr 23, 2015
Press Release
Bipartisan Legislation Unanimously Adopted into Trade Promotion Authority

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) released statements following unanimous adoption of measures to combat the boycott of Israel in the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee drafts of fast-track Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). 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. These measures were originally introduced as H.R. 825 by Roskam and Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA) and S. 619 by Portman and Cardin.

"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,” said Congressman Roskam, Co-Chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus. “I strongly support free trade negotiations with the EU, but we must also confront the disturbing, rising tide of BDS activity from countries across Europe. This measure will make combating these boycotts a principal trade objective of the United States in our negotiations with the EU and send a clear message that countries seeking free trade with the United States cannot participate in politically-motivated economic warfare against Israel. I am grateful for the hard work of Senator Portman, Senator Cardin, and Congressman Vargas in moving this important legislation one step closer to the President's desk. Once again, Democrats and Republicans have come together in strong support of a prosperous Israel and in unified opposition to those who seek its destruction."

“This amendment sends a clear message that if you want to be an economic partner with the United States, you cannot support politically motivated boycotts of Israel,” said Senator Portman. “We must make it clear that the United States will not stand with those who attempt to weaken Israel, and I’m pleased that has been adopted in the House and Senate.” 

“Israel is one of America’s closest allies and the only stable democracy in the Middle East. We may not agree with every Israeli policy, but we cannot allow our potential trading partners in the EU to fall prey to efforts that threaten Israel’s existence,” said Senator Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Economic tools and trade agreements have been used throughout world history to move governments and change policy, but when these actions seek to de-legitimize a country’s right to exist, we need to draw a line."
 

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