Congressman Seeks to Include Anti-BDS Measures in Trade Bill
Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) has called for a measure to be included in the Obama administration’s sweeping trade agreement that would discourage U.S. trade partners from boycotting or divesting from Israel, the New York Times reported on Thursday.
Roskam also sought measures prioritizing U.S. trade with Israel, in an effort to secure amendments to a trade-law enforcement bill that is attached to a separate bill that would grant the White House fast-track trade authority.
Congress is set to vote on the bills on Friday, and according to The Hill “Obama and the GOP appear poised to earn a significant victory.”
According to the Times, Roskam’s demands were among the many from House Republicans seeking to add their last-minute amendments to the trade-law enforcement bill before agreeing to a “yes” vote.
Other demands included language that would prohibit future trade agreements from forcing the U.S. hands on climate change, and another that would keep future trade agreements from loosening immigration laws, among others.
Recently, Roskam led efforts opposing the American Studies Association’s adoption of boycott, divestment and sanctions measures against Israel.
For trade with Europe as part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, he sought language that would require U.S. trade negotiators to adopt a rejection of BDS measures as a principal element of any future trade agreement. These efforts were aimed at the European Union, where BDS has stronger traction.
In his foreign policy, former chief deputy majority whip Roskam has been strongly focused on Israel and issues pertaining to the Jewish state.
Most recently, Roskam was critical of a Supreme Court decision that barred Americans born in Jerusalem from listing Israel as their place of birth on U.S. passports, Roskam wrote: “Americans born in Jerusalem should be able to list their birthplace as Israel on their passport. It is that simple. Jerusalem is the rightful capital of Israel and historic homeland of the Jewish people.”
And he “slammed” a decision by French mobile giant Orange’s decision to cut its contract with an Israeli partner.