GOP senators want Trump era mandates on settlement products to become law

Sen.+Tom+Cotton+of+Arkansas+speaks+with+reporters+as+he+arrives+in+the+Capitol+for+a+vote%2C+July+15%2C+2021.+%28Bill+Clark%2FCQ-Roll+Call%2C+Inc+via+Getty+Images%29

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas speaks with reporters as he arrives in the Capitol for a vote, July 15, 2021. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Seven Republican senators are backing a bill that would enshrine as law one of former President Donald Trump’s final orders — requiring products from the portion of the West Bank controlled entirely by Israel to be labeled as originating in Israel.

The Anti-BDS Labeling Act introduced this week by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., refers to the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel.

It comes on the heels of the controversy surrounding ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s recent decision to pull its products out of the West Bank. Republican lawmakers, however, have been talking about enacting the Trump order since Dec. 23, when the lame-duck president issued the measure less than a month before leaving office.

Biden has not rescinded the order, which applies to goods manufactured in Area C, which is under Israeli control. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had contemplated annexing the area.

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The bill has no chance of passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Area C is where Jewish settlements are concentrated, although it also includes a Palestinian population.

Also in the West Bank are the much smaller Area A, which is under total Palestinian Authority control, and Area B under joint Israel-P.A. control. Under Trump’s order, products from those areas are labeled as coming from the West Bank.

In addition to Cotton, the bill is being backed by Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida; Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee; Ted Cruz of Texas; and John Boozman of Arkansas.

BDS generally refers to boycotts of all of Israel, not just of settlement goods. In announcing its new policy, Ben & Jerry’s said it did not adhere to the tenets of BDS.


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