WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH), co-authors of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), issued the following statement in response to the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) report detailing its work establishing a list of companies operating or investing in certain Israeli-controlled territories, which preliminarily targeted 22 U.S. companies:
“We strongly oppose the ongoing efforts to compile a blacklist of companies that do business in Israeli-controlled territories. Twenty-two U.S. companies have been preliminarily identified by the UNHRC’s methodology.
“We oppose all efforts by international organizations seeking to undermine prospects for resuming negotiations for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.
“In response to specific actions like the 2016 UNHRC resolution that created the blacklist, we introduced the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. This bipartisan legislation protects U.S. companies from unsanctioned international boycotts and preserves the space for direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The preliminary list released yesterday by UNHRC underscores the urgent need for swift action to modernize existing anti-boycott laws.”
NOTE: The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, sponsored by Senators Cardin and Portman in the Senate and Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA) in the House, was introduced in response to a March 2016 UNHRC resolution, which directed the preparation of a database of companies operating or investing beyond the “Green Line,” including, among other areas, East Jerusalem and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. The bill would amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 to prohibit boycotts or requests for boycotts imposed by international governmental organizations against Israel—similar to prohibitions already long in place with respect to boycotts imposed by foreign countries. The legislation makes clear that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act does not “alter the established policy of the United States or establish new United States policy concerning final status issues associated with the Arab-Israel conflict, including border delineation that can only be resolved through direct negotiations between the parties.”