Proposed congressional bill links BDS prevention, EU trade deal


(JTA) — A proposed congressional bill links a U.S. trade agreement with the European Union to combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The U.S.-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act introduced Tuesday will “leverage ongoing trade negotiations to discourage prospective U.S. trade partners from engaging in economic discrimination against Israel,” the Times of Israel reported.

The bill, which was introduced by U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), makes rejecting the BDS movement a prerequisite for moving ahead with a U.S.-EU trade plan that proponents say could be the largest free trade deal in history.

While the measure does not establish any penalties for failing to reject BDS policies, it would prohibit American courts from enforcing rulings made by foreign courts against American companies solely for conducting business in Israel. It would also monitor the BDS-related activity of foreign companies traded on U.S. stock exchanges.

Roskam and Vargas are confident the bill has enough bipartisan support to advance it through Congress.

“Today, an alarming number of countries within the European Union and beyond have embraced BDS as a form of economic warfare aimed to cripple Israel’s economy and demonize its very existence,” Roskam said Tuesday. “These attacks not only threaten Israel but commercial relations across the globe.”

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