Obama Signs Anti-BDS Bill, Objects to Pro-Settlement Provisions
President Barack Obama reiterated his strong opposition to the BDS movement as he signed the “Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015” on Wednesday despite the inclusion of a provision that makes anti-BDS sanctions equally applicable to “Israel” and “Israeli-controlled territories.”
The bill, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 256-158 and the Senate by a vote of 75-20, includes a clause that addresses politically motivated acts to limit or prohibit economic relations with Israel — targeting corporate entities or state-affiliated financial institutions from engaging in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
“I have directed my Administration to strongly oppose boycotts, divestment campaigns, and sanctions targeting the State of Israel,” President Obama said in a statement following the signing ceremony in the Oval Office. “As long as I am President, we will continue to do so.”
However, the President objected to the wording that conflates Israel and ‘Israeli-controlled territories,’ since they are “contrary to longstanding bipartisan United States policy, including with regard to the treatment of settlements.”
“Consistent with longstanding constitutional practice, my Administration will interpret and implement the provisions in the Act that purport to direct the Executive to seek to negotiate and enter into particular international agreements (section 414(a)(1)) or to take certain positions in international negotiations with respect to international agreements with foreign countries not qualifying for trade authorities procedures (sections 108(b), 414(a)(2), 415, and 909(c)) in a manner that does not interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct diplomacy,” the White House statement read.