What You Need To Know: Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015
Yesterday, President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, legislation which includes important anti-BDS provisions. The bill was adopted with broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate by margins of 256 to 158 and 70 to 25 respectively. The anti-BDS language within the bill prioritizes opposing BDS for U.S. trade negotiations, protects American companies operating in Israel, and requires the Administration to report on global BDS activities. The President included with this bill a signing statement which makes clear his concerns regarding enforcement of the BDS provisions related to the West Bank and the president’s prerogative regarding foreign policy.
Below are talking points that you may find helpful:
- We applaud the U.S. Congress for passing and the President for signing the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, including strong anti-BDS provisions. Furthermore, we appreciate President Obama’s commitment “to strongly oppose boycotts, divestment campaigns, and sanctions targeting the State of Israel.”
- Overwhelming Congressional support for this Act makes clear that Americans believe economic sanctions against Israel are not only an impediment to peace, but are also inconsistent with America’s national interests.
- Differences of opinion regarding the application of the anti-BDS provisions should be discussed in a civil and thoughtful manner, recognizing that ultimately they touch on issues that must be negotiated by the parties themselves.
- We continue to feel strongly that a peaceful, two-state future requires increased economic interaction and opportunities for Israelis and Palestinians. Economic sanctions against either party undermine these efforts.
- BDS tactics are divisive and regressive. If we truly want to help both parties reach a peaceful solution, we should instead be encouraging constructive engagement, investment, and a negotiated solution.
- The Roadmap peace plan proposed by the United States, European Union, Russia, and the United Nations specifically calls for the normalization of relations between the Arab states and Israel, including trade links and Israeli-Palestinian economic cooperation. BDS works as an impediment to reaching this objective.
- Arab countries have imposed a boycott against Israel ever since it was established in 1948. Progress toward peace in the region has come from rejecting this approach, as evidenced by the signing of peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan that has resulted in trade and engagement.
These talking points were developed by the Israel Action Network, a joint project of JCPA and JFNA. For any additional information, please contact the Israel Action Network’s (IAN) Ethan Felson and Geri Palast.