U.S. lawmakers are quietly advancing legislation that would penalize international participation in the growing movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) Israel for human rights abuses against Palestinians.
With little notice, anti-BDS directives were injected into the “Fast Track” legislation that passed the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday night, despite broad opposition to the bill, which gives the administration of President Barack Obama authority to ram though so-called “free trade” deals.
An amendment, included in the bill and sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), stipulates that, as a principle of trade negotiations, the U.S. should put pressure on other countries not to engage in BDS against Israel of any kind, including refusal to do business with settlements.
The passed amendment has not yet been made public, but Josh Ruebner, policy director for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, told Common Dreams that Cardin’s office confirmed that the language was based on the Senate legislation S.619, which states:
To include among the principal trade negotiating objectives of the United States regarding commercial partnerships trade negotiating objectives with respect to discouraging activity that discourages, penalizes, or otherwise limits commercial relations with Israel, and for other purposes.