We have previously written about the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement being pushed by anti-Israel groups around the world, including many here in the U.S. The primary aim of the movement is to marginalize and delegitimize Israel on the national scene by pressuring corporate and government entities to participate in economic boycotts against Israeli institutions, pull resources and investments from those institutions, and impose sanctions against the state of Israel because of the ways in which it has chosen to defend itself from the hostile, anti-Semitic forces in the Middle East that seek the outright demise of Israel as a political state.
While many have been drawn in by the underhanded tactics and outright lies of the BDS movement, the United States Congress is not taking the bait. Instead, it is standing in defense of Israel by acknowledging—and roundly denouncing—the true goals of BDS. Despite the concerted lobbying efforts of a coalition of anti-Israel groups, legislators in both the House and the Senate have expressed overwhelming support, on a bipartisan basis, for the adoption of a trade legislation amendment that would combat BDS, particularly in European nations.
The amendment to “The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015” (TPA-2015), unanimously adopted by the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee in April, does not merely express condemnation for the BDS movement but goes an important step further by requiring the United States to highlight rejection of BDS as an integral part of trade negotiations with the European Union. Specifically, the amendment as passed by the House identifies, among the “principal negotiating objectives of the United States regarding commercial partnerships,” a policy “[t]o discourage 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.”
As Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) (one of the amendment’s co-authors and the Co-Chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus) explained, the measure is necessary to combat the BDS movement, “a campaign solely dedicated to the delegitimization and isolation of our ally Israel,” and to “send a clear message that countries seeking free trade with the United States cannot participate in politically-motivated economic warfare against Israel.”
In stemming the tide and momentum of the BDS movement, it is critical that U.S. institutions, including the federal government, continue to oppose the discriminatory targeting of Israel and insist that our global partners likewise reject the racial, ethnic, and nationality-based biases that serve as the movement’s foundation. The tremendous bipartisan support for this anti-BDS legislation, on both the federal and state levels, marks a significant victory toward this end.
The ACLJ is actively engaged in defending against the growth of the anti-Israel BDS movement in its many forms. To stand with the ACLJ and Israel, add your name to our petitions to Protect Jewish Students on Campus and to Stop President Obama from Bullying Israel.
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