Obama to sign AIPAC-promoted trade bill that legitimizes Israeli occupation and fights BDS

US Politics
on 121 Comments

Yesterday the Senate passed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 by a 75-20 veto proof margin. The large trade policy bill includes anti- BDS trade legislation promoted by AIPAC and introduces new U.S. policy language by including all “Israeli-controlled territories” as part of Israel.

President Obama will be signing the legislation. However, the White House issued a statement hours after the bills passage stating “[W]e 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.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement:

We are pleased the Senate passed the bipartisan Customs conference report because it will provide additional tools to help crack down on unfair competition by trading partners and foreign companies that put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage.  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 legislation references “any territory controlled by Israel” or “Israeli-controlled territories” seven separate times, making it the first U.S. legislation effectively defining Israel as including occupied Palestine, essentially recognizing the territory of Palestine and Israel as one entity.

The Times of Israel reports AIPAC’s affirmation of the legislation : Obama to reluctantly sign trade bill that lumps together Israel and settlements:

“The provision puts the US firmly on record opposing BDS and supporting enhanced commercial ties between the United States and Israel,” AIPAC said in a statement Thursday. “This measure builds on the important work of Congress … passing into law firm anti-BDS negotiating objectives for American trade negotiators.”

Within 180 days after the bill becomes the law, the US administration will be required to report to the Congress on global BDS activities, including the participation of foreign companies in political boycotts of the Jewish State. It also includes a number of legal protections for American companies that operate in Israel.

While the Obama administration has long expressed adamant opposition to BDS tactics targeting Israel, there are several references in the legislation to “Israeli-controlled territories” or “any territory controlled by Israel” as being applicable to the terms of the bill.

Relevant provisions included in the legislation include:

(b)

Statements of policy

Congress—

(1)

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;

(2)

recognizes the benefit of cooperation with Israel to United States companies, including by improving American competitiveness in global markets;

(3)

recognizes the importance of trade and commercial relations to the pursuit and sustainability of peace, and supports efforts to bring together the United States, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and others in enhanced commerce;

(4)

opposes politically motivated actions that penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel, such as boycotts of, divestment from, or sanctions against Israel;

(5)

notes 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 (as defined in section 2(1)(B) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. 3501(1)(B)));

(6)

encourages the inclusion of politically motivated actions that penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel such as boycotts of, divestment from, or sanctions against Israel as a topic of discussion at the U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG) to support the strengthening of the United States-Israel commercial relationship and combat any commercial discrimination against Israel; and

(7)

supports efforts to prevent investigations or prosecutions by governments or international organizations of United States persons solely on the basis of such persons doing business with Israel, with Israeli entities, or in any territory controlled by Israel.

(c)

Principal trade negotiating objectives of the United States

(1)

Commercial partnerships

Among the principal trade negotiating objectives of the United States for proposed trade agreements with foreign countries regarding commercial partnerships are the following:

(A)

To discourage actions by potential trading partners that directly or indirectly prejudice or otherwise discourage commercial activity solely between the United States and Israel.

(B)

To discourage 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.

(C)

To seek the elimination of state-sponsored unsanctioned foreign boycotts of Israel, or compliance with the Arab League Boycott of Israel, by prospective trading partners.

(2)

Effective date

This subsection takes effect on the date of the enactment of this Act and applies with respect to negotiations commenced before, on, or after such date of enactment.

(d)

Report on politically motivated acts of boycott of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel

(1)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the President shall submit to Congress a report on politically motivated boycotts of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel.

(2)

Matters To Be Included

The report required by paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A)

A description of the establishment of barriers to trade, including nontariff barriers, investment, or commerce by foreign countries or international organizations against United States persons operating or doing business in Israel, with Israeli entities, or in Israeli-controlled territories.

(B)

A description of specific steps being taken by the United States to encourage foreign countries and international organizations to cease creating such barriers and to dismantle measures already in place, and an assessment of the effectiveness of such steps.

(C)

A description of specific steps being taken by the United States to prevent investigations or prosecutions by governments or international organizations of United States persons solely on the basis of such persons doing business with Israel, with Israeli entities, or in Israeli-controlled territories.

(D)

Decisions by foreign persons, including corporate entities and state-affiliated financial institutions, that limit or prohibit economic relations with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel.

(e)

Certain foreign judgments against United States persons

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no domestic court shall recognize or enforce any foreign judgment entered against a United States person that conducts business operations in Israel, or any territory controlled by Israel, if the domestic court determines that the foreign judgment is based, in whole or in part, on a determination by a foreign court that the United States person’s conducting business operations in Israel or any territory controlled by Israel or with Israeli entities constitutes a violation of law.

(f)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Boycott of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel

The term boycott of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel means actions by states, nonmember states of the United Nations, international organizations, or affiliated agencies of international organizations that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel.

 The full legislation is available here.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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121 Responses

  1. amigo
    February 12, 2016, 11:34 am

    Why would any entity have to state why they are divesting from Israel.Is there a law that requires companies/Universities/Unions etc to invest part of “their” money in Israel or anywhere else.

    Btw , I thought AIPAC had been declawed.This excerise is simply kicking the can down the road and putting off the inevitable outcome of the downfall of Israel , and consequently , in the interim ,costing more and more innocent lives—mostly Palestinian.

    Is that the legacy Obama wants to leave behind him. Gutless so and so.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 12, 2016, 12:21 pm

      I thought AIPAC had been declawed

      where did you hear that? exposed yes, declawed — definitely NOT.

      • peterpeters
        February 12, 2016, 5:49 pm

        Not sure what declawed means, but I’ll be sure to ask around at this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference. One of the 16,000 attendees must know!

      • kalithea
        February 13, 2016, 12:01 am

        @peterpeters

        One of the 16,000 attendees must know!

        That sure makes for a heck of a lot of Kool-Aid to go around!

      • BI
        February 13, 2016, 12:21 pm

        And now Israel is wagging America that’s wagging Saudi Arabia to attack Syria in order to destroy S.A. and steal its oil like they stole Palestine [..]

      • amigo
        February 13, 2016, 2:00 pm

        Not sure what declawed means, but I’ll be sure to ask around at this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference. One of the 16,000 attendees must know!”

        Do you really think it is a good idea to put so many of “your people ” in one place , given all that threat of slaughter and how could the so called Jewish state protect you .But what a gathering , 16,000 traitors and 5th columners. Perverse at best.

        “We would all be slaughtered without the protection of the Jewish state! “peterpeters http://mondoweiss.net/2016/02/obama-to-sign-aipac-promoted-trade-bill-that-legitimizes-israeli-occupation-and-fights-bds/

      • Kathleen
        February 14, 2016, 9:08 pm

        Losing on the Iran deal was a serious thumping.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 14, 2016, 11:42 pm

        true kathleen. but they have unlimited resources and just get up and go at it again. the new anti boycot laws in both the US and UK, my heavens. it’s just going to pit more and more people against israel. and they claim to be doing it because bds anti semitic. they have not seen nothing yet if they pressure lawmakers to scrap the constitution. truly gross over reach.

    • US Citizen
      February 12, 2016, 1:45 pm

      And don’t forget, last night per the debate Shrillary said she wanted to uphold and continue Obama’s policies which will no doubt include blinding, unquestioned support for apartheid Israel. She will set the US back 20+ years in Middle East policy no doubt.

      Make no mistake Shillary is whore for AIPAC – doin’ it for Jewish money – with her “I’ll call Netanyahoo the first week I’m in office” crap. She will be an Israel firster and do nothing for the Palestinians and just perpetuate the Occupation. The issue has even percolated into American presidential politics: in a letter to mega donor Haim Saban, an Israeli-American businessman, she pledged to “make countering BDS a priority.” She is shameless and someone, somewhere should confront her with this.

      Pathetic isn’t it? It is sad indeed that the first African-American President of the United States defends in Israel exactly the kind of institutionalized bigotry, apartheid oppression, and racism in Israel the civil rights movement defeated in this country, a victory that made his election possible. You align yourself with garbage and you end up being garbage.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 12, 2016, 2:09 pm

        indeed that the first African-American President of the United States defends in Israel exactly the kind of institutionalized bigotry, apartheid oppression, and racism in Israel the civil rights movement defeated in this country, a victory that made his election possible. You align yourself with garbage and you end up being garbage.

        US Citizen, like the iran sanctions bill obama criticized before signing he doesn’t have much choice if it passed w/a veto proof majority — which it did.

        it’s not to say he has not been overly generous towards israel, which he has, but this isn’t one of those times.

      • Boomer
        February 12, 2016, 3:20 pm

        re: “. . . he [Obama] doesn’t have much choice if it passed w/a veto proof majority — which it did.”

        True, yet I wonder whether he tried to change any votes beforehand. Did he call any Senators as LBJ would have done on something important to him?

        Within the realm of business as usual inside the Beltway, what Obama did is normal. It is consistent with his own record. But in theory he had (and has) options. He could have issued a veto threat, knowing that it might be over-ridden. He could talk to the American people from the Oval Office, over the heads of AIPAC and Congress and the MSM. He could explain why he was obliged by this congressional action to recognize Palestine, and to support a sanctions resolution at the UNSC, which are things he can do without Congress. I know, it’s a fantasy. But still, I wonder, did he even try to stop this?

      • Boomer
        February 12, 2016, 5:27 pm

        PS: second (less negative) thoughts re Obama

        I used Google News to see how this is being reported, and I saw how Obama is being reviled in some rightwing circles, in some publications oriented to a Jewish readership, and in some English-language Israeli publications . . . even for his modest, pro-forma opposition to this provision.

        I wish he would do more, and I think he could do more, and I can say that he might as well do more since he is already branded in these circles as an evil enemy of Israel, but I do have a greater appreciation for the crazy intensity of the Zionists on this issue.

      • kalithea
        February 12, 2016, 10:54 pm

        @ Annie

        You’re way too nice…

        it’s not to say he has not been overly generous towards israel, which he has, but this isn’t one of those times.

        If I were committing a crime against humanity and about to be protected by U.S. legislation; I’d consider Obama’s caveat i.e. a slap on the wrist — very generous!

      • Annie Robbins
        February 12, 2016, 11:27 pm

        kalithea, vetoing veto proof majority legislation is pointless. i don’t think presidents do it (or i can’t recall when they have but i could be mistaken). you can choose to believe this was at his initiation or he agreed w/it but keep in mind one could say the same about any american. our country is committing a crime against humanity and we’re all protected by U.S. legislation? whatever. i’m not being generous. i don’t think he approved of the legislation with he why he issued the statement. WH press secretaries don’t issue negative statements every time legislation comes down the pike. and the press went after him for it too.

        here’s NYT

        The administration, in its statement, reiterated its objection to a provision that the United States make it a condition of trade deals that other nations not join a movement to boycott Israeli businesses operating in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. While the administration opposes the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, it objected that the language of the trade bill — by covering the occupied territories — “contravenes longstanding U.S. policy” against Israel’s construction of settlements there.

        reiterated. it means he was on record as objecting to shoving anti bds into the bill. and he objected to the language — because he knew exactly what it meant.

        plus, the presidential statement was not very long (2 paragraphs) — the objection, stuck to the end of the 1st paragraph, was prominent.

      • Theo
        February 13, 2016, 1:19 pm

        Question, would it become a law if Obama refused to sign that bill?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 13, 2016, 3:43 pm

        would it become a law if Obama refused to sign that bill?

        theo, it would not. it would go back to the senate who would override a presidential veto. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veto

        Congress can override a veto by passing the act by a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate. (Usually an act is passed with a simple majority.)

        so, when a bill passes with an overwhelming majority (more that 2/3) a president knows, unless he can change lots of votes in his favor which he undoubtedly already tried to do this time as this was a long fight/effort to pass the bill, a veto becomes ineffective. because the bill will pass without the presidents signature when it goes back to congress.

    • Sibiriak
      February 12, 2016, 2:08 pm

      amigo: …simply kicking the can down the road and putting off the inevitable outcome …
      ———–

      In a way, that describes all life.

      • US Citizen
        February 12, 2016, 2:32 pm

        Many thanks Annie, duly noted. It’s just so frustrating, he had eight years, EIGHT YEARS to do something, anything. You would think that he would get some balls and tie this new negotiation for aid to Israel with settlement building but, to me, he is such a coward. Your points are all well taken however and I have appreciated all of your postings over the years .

      • broadside
        February 13, 2016, 4:04 pm

        Annie: “kalithea, vetoing veto proof majority legislation is pointless.”

        I disagree. It would make a point.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 13, 2016, 4:27 pm

        you’re right, it would make a point. i should have said fruitless. i thought he made his point in the statement. others disagree. had he been able to hold up the legislation with his veto i believe he would have. some people think asking for defeat over and over again is not smart politics.

      • kalithea
        February 15, 2016, 8:35 pm

        @broadside

        I agree and will further that because I think we’re underestimating how devastating this bill is. If Obama opposed it; it wouldn’t only make a point; it would represent a significant historical defense of the rule of law and the First Amendment by a President. And here’s the thing, I see this legislation as precedent-setting and that’s a very bad thing because it can be expanded.

        So Annie, imagine that the next President says, ISIS propaganda must be censored online and so Congress creates legislation to take down and sanction sites online and imagine that Aipac pushes to attach clauses to that legislation to prohibit sites that threaten Israel’s or Zionism’s legitimacy? I believe that by allowing Israel this much power to influence U.S. legislation there’s no limit to what they can do to build on the bad precedent set by this trade bill.

        IMO, including BDS in that trade bill is unconstitutional because BDS is in fact a form of protest. We need the freedom to avail ourselves of peaceful means of protest in the form of effective measures to check injustice and check abuse of power. If we allow powerful restraints on freedom of speech and protest measures to slide into legislation without influential voices condemning these then what’s next?

        This legislation can and will lead to something worse, because we all know how Zionism operates. Zionism feeds on censorship, on exploiting anti-Semitism, fear and victimhood. You know how Zionism works. Zionists have no problem whatsoever undermining the fundamental principles of a democracy and the rule of law with unlawful measures. To give them even an inch is to embolden them to exert even more influence to chip away at freedoms every time Zionism is threatened by collective pressure to end the injustice it generates, and ultimately giving them the power to censor creative opposition on the web to it’s injustice.

      • Boomer
        February 16, 2016, 6:46 am

        re: “. . . I think we’re underestimating how devastating this bill is . . . ”

        Why would you say we are underestimating? I think it is game over for the Palestinians, and for those who sympathize with them.

      • MHughes976
        February 16, 2016, 8:40 am

        I don’t think that this legislation is so devastating in itself. It may impose certain costs on BDS activities but the right of free speech to call for BDS and for the removal of these costs is still there. It may set the public mood against BDS but that is far from certain. The game isn’t over,,I’m sure, unless and until the plan, as yet unannounced, to create a mass transfer of the Palestinians to the four corners of the world – I think it will be ‘with compensation’ – has begun to work. The resources needed have never been near available and I hope and believe that resistance will be effective.

      • Boomer
        February 16, 2016, 10:48 am

        re: “The game isn’t over,,I’m sure . . .”

        I would like to think that you are right, but I see no reason to think that you are. Individual Americans retain their right to free speech, but will that help the Palestinians more in the future than it has in the past? The Zionists have once again demonstrated their control of Congress. They control the MSM as well. The last president who tried to be a bit independent of the Zionists was George Bush the Elder. Obama has sometimes used words that gave reason to hope that he might be another, but his actions belied his words. If he won’t attempt to take real action now, when he will never face another election, I can’t imagine when some future president would do so. I don’t expect to see such a president in my lifetime. The UK has joined the anti-BDS camp. That’s two veto-holding powers in the UNSC. The Palestinians will continue to be oppressed. Some will mange to escape. As for compensation, who is offering to pay? All that said, I hope you are right.

      • Sibiriak
        February 16, 2016, 12:45 pm

        Boomer: The UK has joined the anti-BDS camp. That’s two veto-holding powers in the UNSC
        ——————-

        Don’t forget France!

      • Boomer
        February 16, 2016, 2:42 pm

        PS re “The Palestinians will continue to be oppressed.”

        And the U.S. will continue to be complicit.

      • MHughes976
        February 16, 2016, 3:02 pm

        I admit that I can’t see much thaw in the American Zionist icecap but the real decision is not yet and will be made on the ground in Palestine itself as the grand expulsion plan begins to unfold. We can still play our part, I hope.

    • peterpeters
      February 12, 2016, 5:31 pm

      Downfall of Israel? That’s a horrible thing to say! We made the desert blossom! Do you see how they do in all the other middle east countries? Where would my people go? Not to mention the Christian Arabs, the Bedouin! We would all be slaughtered without the protection of the Jewish state! (Not to mention the gays and lesbians!)

      • kalithea
        February 12, 2016, 10:43 pm

        Where would my people go?

        Speaking of downfall…too bad the earth ain’t really flat; it would solve a lot of problems.

      • amigo
        February 13, 2016, 8:24 am

        “Downfall of Israel? That’s a horrible thing to say!” peterspeters

        Take your whinging to the zionist criminals running (ruining ) the Apartheid rogue entity.They are the people who are engineering Israel,s downfall.

        “Where would my people go?”

        They can follow the 700,000 Palestinians your criminal terrorist leaders ethnically cleansed from their land.

        “Not to mention the Christian Arabs, the Bedouin”

        Ask the 40,000 Bedouin that Israel is trying to kick out of their homes to make room for “your people”.As to Christain Arabs–wtf do you care .Pull the other leg zio supremacist racist bigot.

        https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/patrick-strickland/israel-court-approves-demolition-bedouin-village-make-way-jews

      • RoHa
        February 13, 2016, 9:59 am

        “We made the desert blossom!”

        Mostly you stole fertile land and well established farms and orchards. Even if you did make a bit of the desert blossom, that does not justify the monstrous crimes Israel has committed.

        “Where would my people go? Not to mention the Christian Arabs, the Bedouin!”

        So the Christian Arabs and the Bedouin are not “your people” even though they are your fellow citizens. “Your people” can try staying where they are and learning how to get on with their neighbours. Gettting rid of this “my people” idea and thinking solely in terms of humanity and citizenship would help.

      • CigarGod
        February 13, 2016, 10:53 am

        Wyoming.
        None of that going on here.

      • Mooser
        February 13, 2016, 11:02 am

        “peterpeter” we already have two parody-Zionist trolls, and they will be hard to top.

      • echinococcus
        February 13, 2016, 12:11 pm

        Amigo,

        Do you really think that peterpeter thing is not tongue in cheek, just the straight dope?

        At that point it would be a summit of the art of involuntary humor –better than the Narr.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 13, 2016, 3:58 pm

        echni, i don’t think it’s tongue and cheek. i only let a few of them thru (moderation) because it’s redundant and inflammatory and amounts to spamming.

      • MHughes976
        February 13, 2016, 1:42 pm

        Far from any removal of claws or fangs from the other side it seems to me that this incident shows that we have made hardly any progress with respect to the political class and indeed that, as the WH spokesperson has in effect noted, one of the few symbols of American reservation about Israel has been seriously degraded. The road ahead is long and hard and perhaps rockier than ever.
        To me, I don’t know about amigo, downfall would mean the end of the system of exclusive Jewish rights and near total supremacy. I accept that the end of an unjust system can sometimes mean its replacement by something even worse but that cannot be a reason for indefinite continuation of what is bad.
        If it is the right of everyone to have somewhere to live or somewhere to go, presumably with reasonable security and normal political rights, then I would say that people who are Jewish are well provided for. They live in secure prosperity, with strong political influence, in many countries, to which they make important and valued contributions. Where would the United States be without Phil Weiss or Italy without Shmuel? No substantial Jewish group is held in conspicuous subjection.
        With the Palestinians, whose human rights are equal, things are very different. Many of them are held in subjection, many are refugees. They have no place to go where Palestinians are clearly welcome and in an influential position. Things should be evened up.
        I hope to be spared the answer that Palestinians don’t exist.

      • Kay24
        February 13, 2016, 5:55 pm

        We made the desert blossom!

        What desert would that be? The ones you have planted stolen olive trees in the land that belonged to the Palestinians? Nothing to be proud of here.

        Do you see how they do in all the other middle east countries? Where would my people go?

        Stay within the borders given by the UN in 1967. Do not take an inch more than what was given.
        Do not kill or steal or give in to sheer greed, and stop comparing yourselves to all others. You are no better in many, many ways.

    • Boomer
      February 14, 2016, 1:25 pm

      re: “Is there a law that requires companies/Universities/Unions etc to invest part of “their” money in Israel or anywhere else.”

      No, but that doesn’t mean it law is irrelevant. I don’t pretend to understand the import of this new law. Typically there would be some record of hearings, staff reports, or other background information where the impact would be made clear, but I don’t know whether such documents are available in this case. Sometimes provisions just get slipped into law at the last minute.

      However, I do know that there are laws and regulations that govern actions of pension board members, corporate boards, university trustees, etc. Some officers will be deemed to have “fiduciary” responsibilities. Plus such entities have their own statements of investment policy, which typically must adhere to a “prudent man” rule.

      If the Methodist Pension board, to cite just one example, decides to exclude from consideration the securities of a particular company or class of companies that do business with Israel, companies that would otherwise be deemed acceptable, then in practice the Board typically needs to articulate a rationale for modification of its policy. They could just privately tell their money manager to sell those securities, but that isn’t how such entities work.

      As I said at the outset, I don’t pretend to understand the impact of the new law. At a minimum, I would think it may give Zionists added ammunition to fight BDS efforts in the form of PR and threats of lawsuits.

      • oldgeezer
        February 14, 2016, 2:28 pm

        @Boomer

        Fiduciary responsibilities could cut both ways. Ignoring a business opportunity in, or involving, Israeli businesses with a higher rate of return (or say a lower cost of acquisition, etc) would be hard to defend on the surface with the duty to protect and maximize returns on shareholders funds. Given icj rulings , however, companies involved or aiding in war crimes are liable for their actions making any such business activity high risk and arguably a failure of fiduciary duty to shareholders, members, etc.

  2. amigo
    February 12, 2016, 11:52 am

    On the one hand , the US says it does not approve of settlement activity and in same breath legitimizes it with the stroke of a pen.

    Unbelievable hypocracy.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 12, 2016, 12:22 pm

      congress and “the US” are not the same thing. clearly the majority of congress approves of the settlements.

    • peterpeters
      February 12, 2016, 5:35 pm

      The settlements are not a problem. They are such a small area of land. Many Arabs live as a protected minority in Israel, so I don’t see why a few Jews shouldn’t be able to live in Israel-controlled territory that is majority Arab.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 12, 2016, 9:52 pm

        i’m really not in the mood for this crap peter.

      • eljay
        February 12, 2016, 10:59 pm

        || peterpeters: The settlements are not a problem. They are such a small area of land. Many Arabs live as a protected minority in Israel, so I don’t see why a few Jews shouldn’t be able to live in Israel-controlled territory that is majority Arab. ||

        Either you’re Steve Grover under a new name, or you’ve got the same knack for lame “zingers”.

        The “Arab” citizens of Israel are Israelis. They are where they have a right to be.

        The Jewish Israelis occupying and colonizing land outside of Israel’s / Partition borders are hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist criminals. They are where they have no right to be.

        But you already knew that.

      • diasp0ra
        February 13, 2016, 12:59 pm

        I hope you’re joking right now, but to support this small area of land do you even know how much land is confiscated?

        Settlements don’t operate in a vacuum, they need infrastructure. They need special roads that cuts the West Bank, they need army bases which dot the West Bank, they need pipes that draw water from Palestinian sources etc. This is merely the tip of the iceberg. If you are interested read the OCHA report of 2007 to know in detail how they work.

        It’s even worse now than it was in 2007, and it was unbearable then. Just look at this map to see what these “small areas of land” need:

        https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/styles/node_embed/public/multimedia_map_image/2016-mena-israel-overviewmap.jpg?itok=J67mP4tq

        I have a feeling you’re being sarcastic in your comments, but just in case you’re not I made this reply. I have seen weirder things said by Israelis.

  3. FreddyV
    February 12, 2016, 12:01 pm

    This will also effectively kill the Two State Solution though right?

    • John O
      February 12, 2016, 12:32 pm

      Indeed: “any territory controlled by Israel” does imply that Israel is entirely responsible for what happens in the West Bank and Gaza. People should be more careful what they wish for.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 12, 2016, 2:12 pm

      it’s already dead frankie. this just formally drives a nail in the coffin

      • diasp0ra
        February 12, 2016, 4:30 pm

        @Annie

        IMO, the faster the world realizes its death and it dies officially for the international community the faster we can actually start to tackle the root cause of the problem, and not the band-aid that is the 1967 borders.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 12, 2016, 9:54 pm

        yeah, i guess so diasp0ra. it’s just makes me want to vomit.

  4. sawah
    February 12, 2016, 12:04 pm

    Thank you Annie…

    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize“

    – Voltaire

  5. a blah chick
    February 12, 2016, 1:15 pm

    Wow, I can’t begin to get my mind around all the craziness.

    “To discourage 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.”

    Fine, I’m boycotting them for sexual reasons.

    “To seek the elimination of state-sponsored unsanctioned foreign boycotts of Israel, or compliance with the Arab League Boycott of Israel, by prospective trading partners.”

    Good luck, fellas, since the bulk of the boycotters are not affiliated with a government.

    Idiots.

  6. inbound39
    February 12, 2016, 1:34 pm

    All I can see here is America becoming isolated globally along with Israel. The TPPA has no chance of being passed in New Zealand even though John Keye has tried to slide it through with no explaination as to what it contains. Kiwi’s smell a rat and will not allow themselves to be politically controlled by America. Israel has little support in New Zealand. Plus Israel Occupation is strongly opposed in New Zealand.

    • RoHa
      February 12, 2016, 3:10 pm

      “even though John Keye has tried to slide it through with no explaination as to what it contains”

      How can he explain it when he doesn’t know what it contains. The TPPA is supposed to be kept secret from everyone, and that includes Prime Ministers.

  7. Boomer
    February 12, 2016, 2:02 pm

    re “Yesterday the Senate passed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 by a 75-20 veto proof margin. The large trade policy bill includes anti- BDS trade legislation promoted by AIPAC and introduces new U.S. policy language by including all “Israeli-controlled territories” as part of Israel.”

    How depressing. I had to read that twice for it to register fully.

  8. Shmuel
    February 12, 2016, 2:13 pm

    introduces new U.S. policy language by including all “Israeli-controlled territories” as part of Israel

    OK, so it’s not occupied. It is a single territorial unit, in which the only relevant frame of reference is “control”. Within that territorial unit, different rights and freedoms are accorded to different groups on the basis of ethnicity or religion. It is apartheid. Can we boycott it now? I believe there’s a precedent.

    • Boomer
      February 12, 2016, 3:24 pm

      “Can we boycott it now?”

      Didn’t Congress and the President just outlaw that? I guess you can get away with it as long as you don’t tell anyone about it, or encourage anyone else to do so.

    • kalithea
      February 12, 2016, 10:02 pm

      Boycott now? Why not last year or the year before when it was legal?

      Next Israel will be sending Shin Bet to enforce BDS laws in the U.S. and round up BDS dissidents and terrorists. Let’s not forget material support and how that legislation can be entangled with this one.

      But hey, just keep surrendering the power and loving Israel, best buddy of the U.S., right?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 12, 2016, 10:13 pm

        Next Israel will be sending Shin Bet to enforce BDS laws in the U.S. and round up BDS dissidents and terrorists.

        did you read

      • kalithea
        February 12, 2016, 10:37 pm

        @ Annie

        Oy!

        What next? Scary Zionist witch hunts?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 12, 2016, 11:07 pm

        scary zionist witch hunts are already in full swing. the canary mission, salaita, norm, and the list goes on. someday there will be books written about this period of american history and it will be considered dark days for america, like the mcCarthy era only worse. it’s gross.

      • Whatt
        February 12, 2016, 11:36 pm

        Zio witch hunts were widespread in the 80s, by the ADL in cooperation with local police departments against pro-Palestine groups, anti South African apartheid activists etc.

  9. Richard Baldwin Cook
    February 12, 2016, 4:23 pm

    Bibi has said, the 2-state solution is dead.

    This bill will in practice, acknowledge Israeli control over the Occupied Territories.

    Lets now focus on Palestinian participation in civil society, i e. Voting for the government that “controls” Palestine.

    • kalithea
      February 12, 2016, 10:05 pm

      Bibi’s been dreaming of a one-state for quite some time: one state with a concentration camp and cheap labor from the ghettos next door.

  10. xanadou
    February 12, 2016, 4:45 pm

    Israeli economy must be in a deeper quagmire than I had thought possible. On the other hand, one wonders if the morally challenged US apparatchiks are aware that the Israeli version of the Augean stables gates’ can no longer hold back the weight of the horrific atrocities that have put the Israeli govt, its army and immoral majority on a par with Nazi Germany : the torture chamber locks, stolen Palestinian stocks and American supplies of gun barrels.

    Shimon Peres clearly knows the truth that stains his whole life, legacy and old age that he needs to intently observe the dust mites on the floor while trying to dismiss the truth about Israeli apartheid, avoid the gaze of his interlocutor and gathered public at the same time:
    https://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=l3fM94bLAGM

    • biggerjake
      February 13, 2016, 9:42 am

      Which youtube video were you linking to?

      This page has like 50….

      • xanadou
        February 14, 2016, 12:58 pm

        Sorry. Here’s the non-mobile YT link:

        In the unsurprising event that it doesn’t work, if you input:
        The real truth about israel – racism +shimon peres+miko peled
        the YT search engine may avail you of the clip from a Dutch TV program.

  11. alfa
    February 12, 2016, 4:57 pm

    this could be an opportunity increase public debate by challenging these unconstitutional laws in court.

  12. peterpeters
    February 12, 2016, 5:25 pm

    THIS IS SO AWESOME!! Obama has had such a bad attitude against Israel, and I’m glad that congress had the sense to pass this! I can’t wait to hear the backstory next month at this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference! (I love visiting DC–Ethiopian food is my favorite and DC is like the only city in American where I can find it!).

    • kalithea
      February 12, 2016, 10:15 pm

      It’s lookin’ real good now huh? But wait til the fog clears; it’ll be too late then.

      More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones. Gee I wonder why this survived the test of time? You Zionists are about to find out why.

    • Theo
      February 13, 2016, 1:29 pm

      peterpeters

      I suggest you visit Ethiopia, there you find your favorit food all over! And do us a favour, stay there!

    • Rashers2
      February 13, 2016, 2:29 pm

      You are such a little Zio-t*sser, @peterpeters, aren’t you? I hope Hasbara Central’s not paying you for output of a quality that’s not merely low, it runs beneath the sewers where the rats breed.

  13. Krauss
    February 12, 2016, 6:04 pm

    Thanks Annie for updating us with this kind of news which isn’t widely reported on in the MSM.

    It’s shocking but not surprising seeing these kinds of laws. The U.S. Congress has long been occupied territory by the Israel lobby.

  14. italian ex-pat
    February 12, 2016, 7:02 pm

    On January 26, the NYT carried an op-ed by Eyal Press that I think went largely unnoticed.
    It was calling attention to a provision attached to a larger piece of legislature (known as the Customs Bill), said provision in essence extending the existing anti-boycott law (which makes it illegal for an individual or a company to join in a foreign country’s boycott of Israel products) to include products made in ‘Israel controlled territories’. Controlled, not occupied.

    I was puzzled that Richard, Silverstein, in his blog, hailed it as a leap by Obama against the illegal settlements, in that it required the label ‘made in Israel’ to be replaced by ‘made in the West Bank”. What does it matter, I thought, since there are over a thousand Israeli companies operating in the WB? The label doesn’t state the product is made in the settlements, so what’s the difference?
    At the time the author of the article mentioned that this provision had already passed the House and was expected to pass the Senate, but he was hoping President Obama would not sign it, as it would in effect conflate products made in Israel proper with products made by Israeli factories operating in the West Bank settlements.

    From your article I now learn that Obama has indeed signed it, even if, of course, ‘reluctantly’.
    If anybody still thinks this president is going to lift a finger to help the Palestinians and risk antagonizing Israel and the pro-Israel voters in the US, just give it up.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 12, 2016, 10:09 pm

      italian, i think you may have gotten some of this info mixed up. from my understanding the legislation that got kickstarted last month was already in the books from a long time ago. it is very old legislation put in place i think back during oslo — so there was no new legislation wrt labeling products “west bank” obama just asked them to start enforcing it.

      this new legislation has been in the works for awhile (open the 2nd and 3rd links in first paragraph). obama has not signed it yet, it passed senate yesterday and the WH issued a statement right afterwards — obama expressing his displeasure, which is rare. he issued a similar rebuke after the harsher iran sanctions bill, but it was another situation where he had no choice but to sign since it passed with a veto proof majority.

      not sure about the nyt article (had not read silversteon either) but that wording – extending legislation to “area controlled by israel”, was possibly about this bill not the other.

      • Boomer
        February 13, 2016, 7:17 am

        This whole subject can be confusing. There is a lot that I don’t understand about BDS, including how an individual can know what to avoid, and how effective it could be in practice. The Silverstein article referred to was pretty clear, as you say Annie, about the pre-existing Customs regulations. But to me, “made in West Bank” sounds like a Palestinian product, which I should buy, not something to avoid. Then too, I wonder how much Israel lets Palestinians import or export in the first place. And I wonder how effective the labeling is, since it doesn’t seem to be audited and enforced by the U.S. This was when there was a lot of posting here about the Park Slope Coop. I put my question in a long (probably excessively long) post on one of those threads, but I didn’t get any answer. http://mondoweiss.net/2016/01/park-slope-food-coop-holds-vote-aimed-at-staunching-boycott-of-sodastream/#comment-822351

      • Annie Robbins
        February 13, 2016, 8:34 pm

        hi boomer, sorry i didn’t get back to you earlier. regarding your comment on the park slope thread, i didn’t realize it was directed at me. i’ll try to address some of your concerns. regarding richards article, you should ask him.

        I wonder how much Israel lets Palestinians import or export in the first place.

        not a lot at all. they really do not want palestinian developing an argricultural economy (which they had historically) because they want those incomes to go to settlements. more importantly they want the land for israel, clearly.

        it seems that when some people talk about BDS, they refer only to products from some settlements, or from certain designated areas, not from Israel proper. I don’t see how that could, as a practical matter, have much effect on Israel, especially considering all the private and public aid it gets from the U.S. Is it merely symbolic?

        no the settlement and settlement products are not merely symbolic. while some people (like peter beinart) support only boycotting settlement products other people seek to boycott any company that profits from the occupation of palestine regardless of where it is located. then some people boycott all israel products and every company profiting off occupation and isolate israel.

        the settlement exports bring in a lot of money and sustain living there, life for settlers. if europeans quit eating settlement produce what would happen to it? how could these farmers sustain these large tracks of land or the businesses in the industrial zones on stolen land, how would their businesses thrive? it hurts israel because they have given massive tax incentives for israelis to move their businesses there. so why does israel do that? because that is how they are colonizing palestine.

        as far as “made in West Bank” sounds like a Palestinian product, which I should buy, “. asked richard.

        also, if you do not do business with settlements it means banks would not provide mortgages and banks that do could be penalized. i’d advise going to the bds website and poking around.

      • italian ex-pat
        February 13, 2016, 7:40 pm

        Confused? You bet. Because each of the opposing sides claims victory with this bill, and that cannot be.

        Annie, I get it that the law requiring products from the West Bank to be labeled as such, and not ‘made in Israel’, dates back from the Oslo accord. It was meant to help the Palestinian economy, as the WB at that time was almost exclusively Palestinian, and ‘Made in the West Bank’ would have had that connotation. Since then? Besides the settlements, hundreds of Israeli industrial zones are now dotting the WB, so Obama’s sudden ‘big leap’ to enforce that old law, which for 20 years was largely ignored, is rather weak. Now ‘made in the West Bank’ is meaningless, it doesn’t go far enough to differentiate between Palestinian and Israeli products. In contrast, the EU unequivocally calls for products originating from the settlements to be clearly marked as such. Condemned as anti-Semitic by Israel, of course.

        Now to the provision in the new bill. It allows the wording ‘ Israeli-controlled territories’ to be used in the anti-boycott-of-Israel trade bill. How are ‘controlled territories’ different than ‘occupied’? Are we supposed to be fooled into believing that there’s no occupation, and only factories employing Palestinians are built in the WB? Just by changing that one word, the Oslo-dated bill has been killed. How is that a victory for the BDS movement?

        That Obama has rushed to distance himself from such provision, after signing it into law (OK, it was veto-proof) is meaningless, in practical terms. Just as his calling Netanyahu’s settlement expansion ‘not helpful’ and ‘counterproductive’. Words are cheap.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 13, 2016, 7:55 pm

        How is that a victory for the BDS movement?

        i have no idea. you would have to ask silverstein or whoever is making those claims. i don’t think there are any victories here, whatsoever, the whole thing is a nightmare. also, aside from your reference to silverstein i have not heard any pro bds person reference this as a so called victory. i only responded to your comment because you gave me the impression this “‘made in Israel’ to be replaced by ‘made in the West Bank’ ” was somehow related to the new legislation (see above), which as far as i know — it isn’t. i probably shouldn’t have written anything because i was speculating about the article you referenced which i have not read and you didn’t link to.

      • Boomer
        February 14, 2016, 1:01 pm

        re Annie saying “hi boomer, sorry i didn’t get back to you earlier. regarding your comment on the park slope thread, i didn’t realize it was directed at me.”

        Thanks for the info Annie, but there is no need for you to say sorry. My question wasn’t directed at you in particular, but I appreciate your taking time to help sort it out. I guess it is an inherently messy situation, with well-intentioned people doing the best they can to have a constructive impact, and Zionists on the other side doing what they do.

        Juan Cole has a report about a new statement from some EU parliamentarians. They are increasingly tired of Israel’s actions, and say it is time for Europe to play a bigger role. Perhaps there is more reason to hope for progress for Palestinians there than here, but it isn’t clear what–if anything–may come of that.
        http://www.juancole.com/2016/02/european-parliament-demands-immediate-end-to-israel-squatting-home-demolitions-in-palestine.html

      • Annie Robbins
        February 14, 2016, 2:40 pm

        Juan Cole has a report about a new statement from some EU parliamentarians

        here’s what i think of that:

      • MHughes976
        February 14, 2016, 1:08 pm

        Cole’s article is as informative as ever but it’s depressing to hear that old self-deceptive ‘end the occupation’ formula from the Euro leaders. They really should listen to Mr.Friedman.

      • Boomer
        February 14, 2016, 3:11 pm

        It appears that part of Congressional intent with the new law is to make sure that the U.S. does all it can to keep Europe from getting serious with Israel.

      • Sibiriak
        February 14, 2016, 11:46 pm

        MHughes976: […] it’s depressing to hear that old self-deceptive ‘end the occupation’ formula from the Euro leaders. They really should listen to Mr.Friedman.
        ——————–

        Why? Friedman doesn’t support 1S1P1V, let alone suggest ways of getting there. He simply acknowledges current reality and offers no way forward:

        [….]a steady low-grade civil war between Palestinians and Israelis and a growing Israeli isolation in Europe and on college campuses that the next U.S. president will have to navigate.

        “Navigate”? What does that mean? Continuing support for Israel in the face of increasingly hostile global opinion.

        “End the 1967 occupation” is not a deceptive formula; it’s the first explicit goal of the BDS movement , one of the most promising forces for positive change at this moment.

      • MHughes976
        February 15, 2016, 10:51 am

        I see what you mean, Sibiriak – but would we be in agreement that the end of the Occupation is impossible without more changes in the nature of thr Israeli polity?

      • Sibiriak
        February 15, 2016, 11:30 pm

        Sure, Israel has to change. Massive external pressure is needed. Otherwise, it will be a very slow, generational process. Palestine can’t wait.

  15. a blah chick
    February 12, 2016, 7:05 pm

    I hope some of our resident lawyers will weigh on the legality of outlawing boycotts.

  16. Kay24
    February 12, 2016, 7:27 pm

    The “Good Cop” has finally removed its mask. This is what we have always known. That despite the false outrage, and lame criticism, by the US, it has aided and abetted a military occupation for decades, armed a terror state, and protected against any international laws that would boycott or sanction it. This is despicable, and I am disgusted by what Obama is doing. This will be the precedent for other nations to follow.

    • kalithea
      February 12, 2016, 10:18 pm

      Maybe this is why Hillary had so much praise for him yesterday?

      This and she’s riding his coattails all the way to the WH.

      • Kay24
        February 13, 2016, 6:05 pm

        As long as the zionist stench drifts through Congress, we have no hopes of real practicing what we preach and making sure millions of Palestinians are also given their freedom, equal rights, security, and of course, democracy. Children killed, thrown in jails, abused, and suffering under a brutal occupation, do not count, if they are Palestinian. America has once again made a huge mistake, and it is only innocent civilians that will suffer the consequences.

    • Mooser
      February 13, 2016, 11:04 am

      “The “Good Cop” has finally removed its mask.”

      Right along with the “Good Co-op”!

  17. Kay24
    February 12, 2016, 7:37 pm

    It looks like we have brought “democracy” for the people of Palestine. We are such hypocrites.

  18. kalithea
    February 12, 2016, 9:48 pm

    I think it was about a year ago that I warned this was going to happen.

    But I wonder if this is unconstitutional?

    Bawh! Americans are asleep at the switch, surrendering more and more power to their foreign-run government. And Bernie expects a revolution to rise up? The only group ready to revolt are in the black community and they’re not even supporting him instead going against their best interests with Hillary. Just look at the social injustice for blacks the BillyJ Clinton era wrought. Go figure!

    The dark ages cometh.

  19. Whatt
    February 12, 2016, 11:31 pm

    75 to 20 ? I consider that a measured improvement for our congress, when in the recent past the same congress used to vote with super majorities of 100:0 or 99:1 in favor anything Israel much much worse than the Supreme Soviet’s voting records.
    Providing a lifeline for a Zio-fascist country as the US has been doing, has its limitations in the long run, and the crash when the sick patient is no longer viable even in the intensive Zio pro-Israel lobby care unit will be deafening.

  20. Ossinev
    February 13, 2016, 7:00 am

    Call me naive but how exactly do you go about investigating/holding to account/punishing someone or some organisation which decides that it will no longer buy something/invest in something/invite someone to something?

    As has been pointed out many times before on this forum this is all good news for the BDS movement. Nothing pisses grown ups more than being told what they can`t do in their own time or with their own money.

    BOYCOTT UGLY APARTHEID ISRAEL
    SUPPORT THE BDS MOVEMENT
    TELL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS ABOUT BDS

  21. broadside
    February 13, 2016, 9:02 am

    Annie:

    This is the power I’m speaking of.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 13, 2016, 3:23 pm

      when? sorry. i can’t keep track of all the conversations. i am very aware of the power of the lobby. this trade legislation (which i don’t like even aside from the topic here) was really important to obama and the idea our entire trade legislation can be held up and leveraged to place israel’s priorities ahead of US trade or priority — anything they want or demand gets shoved into bills. believe me , you are not tellig me anything i don’t already know. i have been writing about this crap for years and years. and i know how they do it to — crap like this: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/06/a-look-at-who-is-running-mark-kirks-office-in-his-absence/

      also, open the 2nd and 3rd embeds. this has been going on a long time. it didn’t explode on the scene a month ago. this is from last year http://www.jpost.com/International/New-bill-in-Congress-prioritizes-fight-against-BDS-in-EU-trade-talks-390625

      Alternatively, Congress can grant the president fast-track negotiating authority, which lowers the bar for passage of a trade pact through the legislature: Any deal presented under the measure cannot be amended by Congress, and requires a mere up-or-down vote.

      Part of granting the president that promotion authority is the process of outlining principle objectives in trade talks.

      This is where Congress sees an opportunity to leverage the White House on fighting BDS, Hill aides say.

      it’s blackmail

  22. sehsane
    February 13, 2016, 11:39 am

    Patrick Buchanan was right, Congress is Israeli occupied territory.

  23. chrisjj
    February 13, 2016, 11:53 am

    Clearly the US Senators are a bunch of pathetic AIPAC cronies: they ought to know by now that there is no way they can stop citizens from boycotting Israeli goods, and there is no way they can halt the arc of history as it bends towards justice. As for the so called ‘progressive’, Sanders, he declined to vote: that says a lot about his character and personality. Sanders is not good Presidential material, that is if you believe that the President should serve the interests of citizens and NOT corporations, foreign powers, or special interests.

    • echinococcus
      February 13, 2016, 3:52 pm

      In addition to the AIPAC/Likud cronies, we also have the J-Street/”Labor”(nka Zionist Bloc) cronies. Different but of course united to steal Palestinian land, life, dignity and sovereignty.
      Guess why they are never mentioned in connection with Senator BS?

  24. SonofDaffyDuck
    February 13, 2016, 1:59 pm

    West bank annexed to Israel by Us Congress…..free speech on BDS forbidden….apartheid institutionalised and protected….Hillary taking relations with Israel “to next level”….

    and next? (Bibi establishes residence on Capital Hill….Mondoweiss suppressed….Criticism of Israel filtered on Social Media and outlawed in mainstream press…..)

    • JustJessetr
      February 13, 2016, 6:15 pm

      Calm down. It doesn’t limit free speech at all. It just withdraws government funding from organizations that can be proved to be engaging in a boycott of Israel, an ally.

      Look, you don’t want the US to protect Israel? Spend more of your time working for solar power. The only reason the US supports Israel is because it’s a foothold in the oil-rich Middle East. Work from a more practical angle and you’ll get what you want. Keep crying about morality and hypocrisy and your conspiracy fantasies, you’ll get nowhere.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 13, 2016, 7:23 pm

        The only reason the US supports Israel is because it’s a foothold in the oil-rich Middle East.

        what fanatasy world do you live in? if this were the case there would be no need for the israel lobby.

      • Mooser
        February 13, 2016, 7:34 pm

        “The only reason the US supports Israel is because it’s a foothold in the oil-rich Middle East.”

        “Jesse” did you ever think of showing your comments from Mondo to a Zionists and asking “Am I helping or hindering?”

      • diasp0ra
        February 14, 2016, 6:06 am

        @Just

        The right to boycott and call others to boycott is protected under freedom of speech.

        If the government punishes you for a certain kind of free speech, then they are punishing you for your political position. It is an attack on free speech.

        The rest of your comment is nonsense, the US does not need/support Israel for oil, it already has bases in the gulf.

      • Theo
        February 14, 2016, 12:04 pm

        Mooser

        Jessy is right, we have huge arms depots in Israel, anything from tanks, artillery, missiles and plenty of ammunation, to support our military in case we have another war in the area. The IDF can dip into those supplies in case they run short on killing power.

    • MHughes976
      February 14, 2016, 8:53 am

      I’ve just had a look at the Palestine Legal site which takes the view that individual ability to call for BDS is not yet restricted, so free speech in that basic sense is intact. Organisations still seem free to practise BDS, only they may suffer some form of counter-boycott organised by the state – most especially so far in Illinois: so an honest advocate of BDS would have to say ‘Go for the boycott and face the consequences as a matter of moral duty’.
      I would accept that if private organisations can run boycotts other private organisations can run counter-boycotts, sauce for goose being sauce for gander. However, government intervention with the effect of threatening bad consequences for one side, even if nothing is made illegal, can only have the effect – and in this case is quite blatantly meant to have the effect – of chilling or ‘discouraging’ (favourite word in this legislation) not only the action but the discussion. This does seem to me like an abuse of government power.
      Of course things are worse in France and here in the UK.

  25. jaspeace2day
    February 13, 2016, 2:22 pm

    This bill is a joke signed by our spineless leadership and manifests now more clearly than ever before the urgent need of the American people to clean house and senate. It is a joke because it won’t stop anybody from BDS activities if they just keep quiet about it. It will certainly not make me purchase anything from any israeli terrorist backed organization or company and I’m quite confident it won’t dissuade anybody else…call it the new Underground BDS Movement if you will. Viva Palestina!

  26. Sibiriak
    February 13, 2016, 2:32 pm

    Business is business:
    ——————-

    Moscow and Tel Aviv are planning to sign a free trade agreement in the near future, Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergey Levin told journalists on Friday.

    “Such decisions aim at maximizing cooperation between Russia and Israel in terms of agriculture and new technologies; creation of joint ventures, as well as the prospects of a free trade zone agreement which the government expects to sign with Israel as soon as possible,” Levin said following Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich’s meeting with Israeli businessmen.

    https://www.rt.com/business/332259-russia-israel-free-trade/

  27. JustJessetr
    February 13, 2016, 6:12 pm

    Well, the Israel stuff was very little of the trade bill. You should be happy it’s passing because now you won’t have to pay internet taxes.

    That way you all can continue to support Palestinian rights the same way you always have: without paying a dime, or sacraficing anything. It’s still 100% free to criticize Israel. No risk involved.

  28. MaxNarr
    February 14, 2016, 10:04 am

    What do you think I meant when I told you

    || We have declared war on the BDS movement ||

    PLO-Supremecists beware, this is only the beginning.

    • diasp0ra
      February 14, 2016, 12:07 pm

      Max, is it not enough that you stole a country, your icon is a stolen food, and now you’re even stealing Zio-supremecist for your own use?

      Do you have ANYTHING that belongs to you?

    • Theo
      February 14, 2016, 12:08 pm

      Max

      There is a good proverb that you could write on your zionist forhead: “If you bend a stick too much, eventually it will break”. Study history.

    • eljay
      February 14, 2016, 1:00 pm

      || MaxNarr: What do you think I meant when I told you

      || We have declared war on the BDS movement ||

      PLO-Supremecists beware, this is only the beginning. ||

      What’s a “PLO-Supreme”?

      When your { Thousand Year “Jewish State” } collapses – and it will collapse – I’ll send you a box or two of Kleenex to cry into. :-(

  29. xanadou
    February 14, 2016, 1:31 pm

    To id Israel as the country of product origin, look for the first 3 digits on the barcode. The UPC and EAN barcodes start with 729.

    However, this link:
    http://www.earth-heal.com/news/news/45-take-action/1690-israel-changes-bar-code.html
    – suggests that Israel uses 871 as the first 3 digits to id its products. This was done, allegedly, to avoid the effects of the boycott.

  30. Sulphurdunn
    February 14, 2016, 4:56 pm

    “…or in any territory controlled by Israel.”

    Does that include the United States Congress?

  31. Jon66
    February 15, 2016, 8:48 am

    I’m not sure but there seems to be some distinction between free speech and economic activity. Some economic activity is considered speech and some not. For example, public accommodations cannot boycott or discriminate against some racial or ethnic group. You can’t refuse to bake a cake for a Muslim couple or serve a black couple at the lunch counter. That doesn’t mean that some Neo-Nazi shopkeeper won’t boycott the black community, but if he does he will be prosecuted/fined. I have no idea how they prove the intent unless the shopkeeper expresses it.

  32. lysias
    February 16, 2016, 8:51 am

    RT: Like Thatcher with apartheid: UK to ban public bodies from boycotting Israeli West Bank goods.

    I also heard on line that a student in the UK was interrogated by police for wearing a t-shirt that expressed sympathy with the Palestinians.

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