Morton A. Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) issued the following statement:
Yesterday, the Obama administration stated that it was pleased that Congress had passed a bi-partisan trade bill (H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015) – but then singled out the pro-Israel part of that bill for condemnation. The pro-Israel section of the trade bill (Sec. 909, entitled “United States-Israel Trade And Commercial Enhancement”) helps combat “boycotts, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) against Israel and any territory controlled by Israel. In other words, the Obama administration is in effect supporting anti-Israel BDS.
The pro-Israel part of the bill, Section 909 declares that, among other things: “Israel is America’s dependable, democratic ally in the Middle East”; “Congress supports the strengthening of economic cooperation between the United States and Israel and recognizes the tremendous strategic, economic, and technological value of cooperation with Israel”; “Congress opposes politically motivated actions that penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel, such as boycotts of, divestment from, or sanctions against Israel”; and “that boycotts of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel by governments, governmental bodies, quasi-governmental bodies, international organizations, and other such entities are contrary to principle of nondiscrimination under the GATT 1994.” The bill requires the “principal trade negotiating objectives of the United States for proposed trade agreements with foreign countries regarding commercial partnerships” to include, for instance, “discouraging politically motivated boycotts of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel and to seek the elimination of politically motivated nontariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce imposed on Israel.” (Sec. 909(c).)
In addition, the pro-Israel part of the trade bill prevents U.S. courts from enforcing a foreign court judgment against U.S. persons if the foreign court judgment was based or partially based on the U.S. person conducting business in Israel or any territory controlled by Israel. (Sec. 909(e).) The bill also requires the administration to provide annual reports on politically motivated BDS acts against Israel. (Sec. 909(d).)
The Obama administration’s statement said: “As with any bipartisan compromise legislation, there are provisions in this bill that we do not support, including a provision that contravenes longstanding U.S. policy towards Israel and the occupied territories, including with regard to Israeli settlement activity.”
The Obama administration’s singling out of only the pro-Israel part of H.R. 644 for condemnation is another example of this administration’s continuuing recently ramped-up hostility to the Jewish State.
On January 23, the Obama administration issued an anti-Israel labeling directive, which forbids Israeli good produced over the “green line” from stating that they are made in Israel or even that they are made in Israeli settlements or Israeli-controlled territory. (The “green line” is the point where the fighting stopped in 1949 after seven Arab nations invaded and illegally seized part of Israel.) See ZOA’s release supporting Senator Tom Cotton’s bill to override the administration’s anti-Israel labeling directive.