Congress sneaks amendment to criminalize boycotts of Israel into TPP Fast Track bill

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Legislation penalizing organizations for participating in the B-D-S movement against Israel, has been quietly attached to the Fast-Track Legislation that is winding its way through Congress.

The B-D-S movement, which stands for boycott, divest, and sanction, is a growing international effort began in 2005 to pressure Israel for its continued oppression and occupation of Palestine.

It utilizes economic tactics similar to those used against the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

The amendment, introduced by Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, stipulates that, as a general principle of trade agreements, the US should discourage other countries from participating in any form of B-D-S against Israel for political reasons.

Josh Ruebner, policy director for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, said his organization first became aware of the legislation by happenstance, and that it was embedded in the bill with virtually no public knowledge of its existence.

The legislation follows similar efforts in the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice to pass a trade agreement law that would require the US to discourage trade partners from engaging in any BDS activities. That legislation in the House is known as the United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act. KBOO’s Ethan Martin spoke earlier with Josh Ruebner about the legislation.

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