In late April, the Senate Finance Committee adopted new amendments to the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would require US trade negotiators to make rejection of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanction) Movement a requirement in any Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the European Union, which are now ongoing.
The bill requires signers of the TTIP “to discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel and seek the elimination of politically motivated non-tariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce imposed on the State of Israel.”
This was aimed not only at EU threats of sanctions against Israel but at EU financial support of anti-Israel BDS groups.
As you might expect, the usual suspects among Jewish
The rabidly pro-BDS, anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace has been one of the leading voices opposing the legislation, along with Americans For Peace Now,and of course, "pro-Israel, pro-peace" J-Street.
They were especially enraged that the wording of the bill - which refers to all "Israeli-controlled territories" - would also make it illegal to boycott Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
But despite the pressure from these far-left anti-Israel groups the amendments have near unanimous, bipartisan support:
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly praises Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) for sponsoring the bipartisan United States-Israel Trade Enhancement Act of 2015 (S.619) and Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-Cal) for sponsoring the United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act of 2015 (HR.825). In addition, ZOA strongly praises HR.825’s thirty-seven co-sponsors listed below. ZOA also praises Senators Cardin and Portman for annexing this anti-boycott legislation as an amendment to a bill currently in the Senate Finance Committee. [...]
The praiseworthy bipartisan co-sponsors of HR.825 (in addition to sponsors Congressmen Roskam and Vargas) include:
Steve Stivers (R-OH), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Paul Cook (R-Cal), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Randy Weber, Sr. (R-TX), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Brian Babin (R-TX), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Trent Frants (R-AZ), Austin Scott (R-GA), Stevan Pearce (R-NM), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Chris Collins (R-NY), David McKinley (R-WV), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Peter King (R-NY), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla), Luke Messer (R-IN), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla), Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Candice Miller (R-MI) and Daniel Webster (R-Fla).
And those are just the co-sponsors.
Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL), who co-sponsored the legislation, told The Washington Free Beacon that the whole issue "is a non-story: a bunch of anti-Israel groups criticizing a pro-Israel amendment."
"While a broad bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress are focused on strengthening the mutually beneficial US-Israel economic relationship, this small handful of outside organizations are more interested in defending destructive efforts to delegitimize Israel," he said.
He's got something there. Sanctions are essentially a trade A-bomb, and once the EU uses it, there's zero incentive for Israel to negotiate anything. Unlike Russia and Iran, Israel has more than one product the world wants, and lots of buyers, so even some EU countries will wink at any sanctions, especially with some convenient re-labeling and resales involved. That's exactly how the EU avoided the Arab boycott against Israel in the 1960's and the 1970's.
Not only that, but these days Israel has lucrative and established trade relations with China, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Burma, India, Russia and many other non-EU countries..not to mention Canada and Australia.
President Obama might of course veto this, but doing so would pretty much signal exactly how much he really despises Israel to even the most clueless, not to mention that this legislation merely reiterates existing U.S. law. Even his fellow Dems might participate in a veto overide to preserve their own political hides. And I have a feeling he too realizes that vetoing this would pretty much end what little leverage he has left to get the Israelis to negotiate anything vis a vis 'Palestine'. He has other things more important to deal with, and other plans for Israel, as I'll reveal shortly.