MPAC Statement on Anti-BDS Provisions Within Trade Bill

July 2, 2015

Photo by Kristin W

The U.S. State Department made a special statement on Tuesday following the passage and subsequent signing of the Trade Promotion Authority bill regarding one of the bill’s more controversial provisions, which called for diplomats to oppose any and all boycotts of Israel. The statement clarified that even though the U.S. “strongly opposes” BDS actions against the State of Israel, it does not exercise the same policy towards territories that are merely controlled by Israeli forces. With this statement, the State Department thus in effect granted a new legitimacy to the boycotts which focus on the Israeli-occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. 

MPAC thanks Secretary John Kerry for his statement, for it stands as a refusal to legitimize illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. This alone, however, is not enough, as it does not fully counteract the anti-BDS provision in the new trade bill. MPAC firmly believes that we cannot encroach on the economic jurisdiction of other countries simply in order to incentivize trade. This trade bill should have been a deal between the U.S. and willing European countries; however, the addition of the anti-BDS provision gives the appearance that the U.S. prioritizes Israeli economic interests even more than our own.

While the State Department’s comments are a good first step, MPAC urges our government to recognize and emphasize further that this bill is about American prosperity–not the protection of an illegal occupation.



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