I am writing to respectfully urge you to support the Israel Anti-Boycott Act H.R. 1697
Introduced by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH), and Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA), this bipartisan legislation would expand existing U.S. anti-boycott laws to include international organizations like the United Nations and the European Union.
This bill is the result of the March 16, 2016 resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that directed the preparation of a database of companies investing or operating beyond the “Green Line,” including, among other areas, the eastern part of Jerusalem and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. This UNHRC resolution effectively involves the United Nations in a boycott of Israel emboldening the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This is unacceptable.
This bill would expand the Export Administration Act, which already prohibits compliance with any foreign government’s boycott of Israel, to international organizations such as the UN, which has long singled out Israel for blame at each session while downplaying abuses by true human rights violators.
This bill is limited to commercial activities intended to harm Israel and in no way limits free speech protected by the First Amendment.
It also calls for expanded civilian science and technology cooperation between the United States and Israel to help counter BDS.
International boycotts of Israel have long been used to try to undermine the Jewish state. Recently, the BDS movement has sought again to stigmatize, delegitimize, and isolate the State of Israel by trying to drive a wedge between Israel and the rest of the world — separating Israel's government, businesses, universities, and people from their partners abroad.
Congress has a long history of standing with Israel and of utilizing international trade policy to fight efforts to undermine Israel economically. I therefore urge you to continue this support and co-sponsor this important bipartisan legislation.