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February 8, 2016 7:59 am

Congressman: Why Is Obama Using Labeling of Israeli Goods to Pressure the Jewish State?

avatar by Doug Lamborn

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President Barack Obama. Photo:

President Barack Obama. Photo:

An Open Letter to The Secretary of the Treasury

Dear Secretary Lew,

As I am sure you are aware, the recent “reissuance” of the West Bank country of origin marking requirements from the West Bank and Gaza has raised many questions as to its purpose and intent. The circumstances surrounding the reissuance seem odd, if not insidious.

The issuance occurred a little after noon on Saturday, January 23, 2016. That timing is curious. The entire East Coast was being buried in a historic winter snowstorm during this time. It seems odd that on a weekend when all transportation was suspended throughout the entire Northeast, and people were literally holed up in their homes not monitoring these types of actions, it was deemed necessary to reissue these 1995 guidelines.

Let me provide some background for the interested reader. In accordance with the Tariff Act of 1930, “every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported in to the U.S. shall be marked … in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.” Trade Directive (T.D.) 95-25 records for us how the US Customs Service complied with this particular provision prior to 1995:

Customs had taken the position that, in order for the country of origin marking of a good which was produced in the West Bank or Gaza Strip to be considered acceptable, the word “Israel” must appear in the marking designation. However, by letter dated October 24, 1994, the Department of State advised the Department of the Treasury that, in view of certain developments, principally the Israeli-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (signed on September 13, 1993), the primary purpose of [the Tariff Act] would be best served if goods produced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were permitted to be marked “West Bank” or “Gaza Strip.”

This “Israeli-PLO Declaration of Principles” is best known as the Oslo Accords. The Oslo Accords were a time in history that was almost euphoric in nature for many. There was hope that a peace would be achieved, and the Clinton administration desired to encourage trade with the Palestinian-administered places in disputed areas. There were questions regarding how to handle trade and tax issues, hence the need to designate goods coming from these areas. It is my understanding that the Clinton administration intended to specifically prohibit the unilateral recognition of any Palestinian state.

This trade directive was never enforced because it was seen for what it was: a ham-handed, job-killing mandate imposing a false designation upon Israeli goods produced in disputed areas. Then everyone loses. Businesses operating out of these areas should be able to designate their items as coming from “Israel” as well as — or instead of — “West Bank” or “Gaza” if they want.

Fast forward 20 years. There is now a global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Antisemitism is on the rise. Israel does not have a peaceful partner to negotiate with. There is an Islamic State. Iran has been sanctioned, and de-sanctioned. The European Commission has gone along with the global BDS movement to utilize the labeling of Israeli goods as a way to delegitimize the nation of Israel.

The world is a strange and dangerous place. Yet, this administration wants to seemingly force Israel back to the negotiating table and to make unilateral and dangerous concessions to prove that Israel can be trusted. Israel, understandably, is not eager to do so until it has a negotiating partner that makes some effort to show its own good faith. Therefore, one can understand the skepticism as to the rationale behind “reissuing” these labeling guidelines at this time. I am writing to seek clarification from you as to whether there has indeed been a change in policy, and if so, why?

It seems to me that a labeling requirement drafted 20 years ago to promote Palestinian goods under entirely different circumstances but never enforced is now being dusted off and resurrected to coerce Israel out of spite.

I look forward to a response from you, and if not, will likely have to assume the worst — and I, for one, will not stand idly by while Israel is being thrown under the bus.

Most Sincerely,

Congressman Doug Lamborn

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  • EllenL

    Go ahead and label them. It will make it that much easier for us to buy them.

  • howiej

    In the quote stated by Congressman Lamborn it is “permitted” that they be marked West Bank or Gaza, not, it must be marked. If the Obama administration is seeking to force the marking of certain Israeli products to be marked West Bank they are seeking to cooperate and aid the BDS movement.

  • Reform School

    Is the Dalai Lama Buddhist?

    Is Chief Rabbi Sacks Jewish?

    Is Pope Francis Roman Catholic?

    Is Rev. James David Manning Christian?

    Is Soebarakh Hussein Obama Muslim?

  • Lauren Singer

    The world has re-emerged as a dangerous place. For Jews. A fabricated nationalism has taken hold and somehow by manipulating history, it is gains traction. I remember the Arab owned cars had blue number plates. Ah yes, you might say. Obvious ‘apartheid’. No, Jordanian plates. Use old unused legislation, tweet it a touch, and voila ready to use against Israel. BDS supporters? Re-cycled activists for a cause.

  • Ephraim

    Why is this chazar doing anything? To destroy Israel and facilitate the success of worldwide jihad. There can be no other explanation.

  • Natella

    Who cares what Obama and Europe thinks of Israel, either way, Europe has always been against Israel. In May 2012 Obama failed to fulfill his promise to Muslims , make Palestin as independent state. Obama has not succeeded with his mission while he we’re at the white house all this years. Now he goes back and trying make Israel talk to them, oooo please, enough of talking, talking to them is equally as speaking to the walls, wasted energy and time. Everybody know that Israel tried hard make piece with his neighbor but sadly neighbors don’t know how to keep they promises , once Israel trust them, they turn up and stub inesent people from the back, just like a cowerds do! In fortunately you can’t trust this nation, Israel must to be aware 24/7 364 days a year to protect they generations and they rights ! Before Israel have done more than twice negotiat with Palestin but each time, they wanted more and more, they need learn compromise but they like ” nah”, we want all Israel, they wish that Jewish nation swipe out of land… Jewish nation billed Israel with they clever sharp head’s, this little cute country has everything of anything in it. 400 years they didn’t get anywhere closer to what Israel have done in less than a 100 years! land! Arabs have more than enough lands, Israel land is just an excuse to wipe Jewish nation from the earth face ! Here this from the vision, Jewish are the head of piramide, if they will fall apart, y’all start count the begging of the end!!! So far everybody moving in apposite derection’s! Europeans and US have enough facts on the ground, to understand there is no trust and honesty at this people!Those who do not understand by now, I feel sorry for them not capable to see what is wrong and what is right, till the danger will nock at they doors!

    • Natella has it right that there is no trust or honesty
      among Arabs let alone with other people however bigots and anti-semites will side with them against that little Democracy Israel that lives among them so Israel does it;s best to protect it’s people, PERIOD ! It has always
      strived for peace with an outstretched arm only to be rebuffed.The real name of the West Bank is Judea & Samaria,that isn’;t rhetoric it’s FACT, it’s TRUE.Abraham,Isaac,Jacob and their wives are buried in Hebron,it was not an Arab town on the West Bank but was part of the Nation of Israel in a land called Palestine
      and the area called Judea & Samaria.Arabs came to the land in the 7th Century when the Ottoman Empire of Turkey invaded and drove the Israelites or Hebrews from the land. The Nation of Israel was reborn in May of 1948 as the modern Democratic State of Israel and war broke out immediately and the Jews were driven out of
      judea& Samaria by Jordan who occupied the land for 19 years until 1967 when the neighboring Arab countries,Syria,Egypt,Lebanon and Jordan decided it was time to wipe out the Jews or Israelis.Israel intelligence became aware of the buildup of Arab forces near the borders so it acted and it’s tiny airforce destroyed the Arab’s airplanes on the ground.The Arabs
      suffered a humiliating defeat in what became known as the Six Day war when Israel retook the land occupied by Jordan including Jerusalem and it also annexed part of the Syrian Golan /Heights to prevent further shelling of Israeli towns below.

      The Arabs want all of what’s known as the West Bank as well as Jerusalem to be the Capitol of a State of Palestine and the world is eager to accept that but Israel has a 3500 year old history of King David’s naming of Jerusalem the Capitol of the Nation of Israel and the Arabs want it because the Ottoman’s built a Mosque over the ruins of the Israelite Temple they destroyed when they invaded leaving only the Western Wall still standing Today,the Jews Holiest religious site in the whole world while the Arabs have Mecca & Medina, doesn;t matter, the Arabs want it !

      Israel is not a perfect nation yet compared to all the nations making up the United Nationsm?She continues to be a Light unto the world and continues her mission of
      “Tikun Olam’, to repair the world in so many many ways.
      T o Israel’s detractors, I have one message in Hebrew
      ” AM YISROEL CHAI” the nation of Israel lives and in Yiddish ” Danken Gott” !

  • stevenl

    The BHO Adm. will inflict as much damage as possible upon Israel with the assistance of the Liberal Jews.

  • Peter Joffe

    The answer is very simple. Obama is a Muslim and Obama hates Israel.We have to endure another year of the Jew haters of The Obama disadministation. Obama works for Iran and the Koran overrides the US Constitution.

  • All the Jews that were kicked out of Arab countries and their descendants want reparations.

  • ART

    It is part of Obama/Hillary/Kerry war against Israel

  • ZG

    Thank you. Congressman!!!

  • harri

    he made it clear when he went to the Baltimore mosque that he was “one of them”. he also indicated this in his book. he has dismantled the border of the U.S and invited in the stated enemies of the U.S. the U.S & Israel stand in the way of the NWO consuming countries/resources/economies. obama takes his marching orders from NWO. destroying U.S./Israel by dismantling borders/marginalizing is part of this process.

  • Congressman: Your question was answered in March 1968 by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr who said with great prescience: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism”.

  • gregg solomon

    Great job Congressman.

  • Alex Brackman

    Congressman Lamborn,

    Wonderful that you stepped up and so courageously spelled out exactly what needed to be stated – this obvious alignment with the BDS movement by- the dusting off of some old ‘goods’ labeling guidelines — as you said — is an obvious attack on Israel. Like you, I stand side by side with you – as I too will not stand idly by while Israel is being thrown under the bus –by an administration, a president, that has been against the state of Israel from the get go. Proud of what you said!!

    Alex Brackman
    Los Angeles, CA