Democrats, Republicans rebuke White House for stance on Israel boycotts

February 26, 2016 18:11

MIAMI – The Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill joined Republicans on Friday to rebuke the Obama administration for its decision not to enforce part of a law that would penalize US trading partners boycotting products originating in Israeli-controlled territories.

The customs bill is a congressional guide for the administration in its trade negotiations with Europe. Included in that bill, signed into law this week, is a provision "that discourages our trading partners from taking politically-motivated commercial actions against Israel," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, alongside colleagues Chuck Schumer of New York, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Michael Bennet of Colorado and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

"Such actions run counter to longstanding US policy opposing politically-motivated boycotts of, divestments from, or sanctions against Israel and it is incumbent upon the United States to use every diplomatic tool to stop our trading partners from imposing such misguided actions," the Democratic senators said, characterizing the movement as anti-Semitic. "Moreover, such policy has long been reflected in the US–Israel Free Trade Agreement, which does not distinguish tariff treatment among products based on whether they were produced in Israeli territories."

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