WASHINGTON – The State Department declined to issue a rebuke of the European Union for its new regulations barring member nations from cooperating with Israeli organizations and businesses operating in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

The US instead reinforced its position on settlement building in the territories.

“The US position on settlements is clear and has not changed,” a State Department spokesman told The Jerusalem Post, referring questions on the details of the decision to European officials.

“We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.”

An expert at the Brookings Institution suggested in an interview that, given the nature of exchanges between the US and the EU, it was likely the Obama administration was given notice of the policy shift.

B’nai B’rith International expressed “outrage” in a statement to journalists.

“These guidelines clearly display the longstanding EU double standard and obsession with Israel to the point of outright discrimination,” president Allan J. Jacobs said.

“Syria’s civil war and Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons do not get the same attention as Israel.”

The American Jewish Committee issued a similar rebuke.

“The key to achieving a two-state solution – which, again, we wholeheartedly support – is by encouraging direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, not taking steps now to penalize one party, in this case Israel, while emboldening the other,” said David Harris, executive director of the AJC.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger