The US Senate has passed a controversial trade bill that contains provisions opposing the growing international boycott movement against Israel.
The Senate passed the measure as part of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation. The legislation was already passed by the House of Representatives and can now be signed into law by President Barack Obama.
The bill was passed under massive pressure from the powerful pro-Israel lobby in the United States.
The provisions require US negotiators to oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel during the ongoing free trade negotiations with the European Union.
The BDS campaign seeks to increase economic and political pressure on Israel until the regime ends the occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands and respect the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
“Today, for the first time in nearly four decades, Congress sent legislation to the president’s desk to combat efforts to isolate and delegitimize the ‘state’ of Israel,” US Representative Peter Roskam wrote in a statement released shortly after the Senate vote.
“After today, discouraging economic warfare against Israel will be central to our free trade negotiations with the European Union,” said Roskam, one of the lawmakers who sponsored the provisions.
This comes as several groups and organizations in the European states have already supported the campaign against Israel.
The boycott campaign against Israel began in July 2005 by 171 Palestinian organizations, calling for "various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”
In 2013, two US academic groups -- the American Studies Association and the Association for Asian American Studies -- supported the boycott.