As the Palestinian civil society-led movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) continues to snowball, as evidenced by the United Church of Christ’s overwhelming affirmative vote earlier this week, Israel’s supporters have embarked on a desperate top-down strategy to legislate against this burgeoning grassroots initiative.
After several blatantly unconstitutional anti-BDS bills failed to generate support in the last US Congress, the Israel lobby giant AIPAC believed it scored a significant victory when President Barack Obama signed into law on Monday the first federal anti-BDS provision.
This provision, tucked into the Trade Promotion Authority bill — more commonly known as “fast track” authority — makes it a “principal negotiating objective” of the United States “to discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel” in current negotiations with the European Union over theTransatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
The law also specifically extends this US discouragement of BDS to include “Israeli-controlled territories,” a transparent ploy to put pressure on the EU to reverse nascent steps to label products from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
This article has appeared in The Electronic Intifada.
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