The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a measure that could result in punitive measures against European companies that are boycotting Israel.
The measure, which was already approved by the U.S. Senate last month, is part of the large bill called the Trade Act of 2015 that is set to arrive at President Barack Obama’s desk in the near future. Under the bill’s Trade Promotion Authority, the president would be granted wide leeway to reach a trade deal with the European Union. Congress would get the chance to vote on the deal, but not on its various provisions.
The bill would essentially prevent the U.S. from engaging in free trade with a European trade partner (either the EU itself or a European corporation) so long as it is involved in the boycotting of Israel, potentially barring such entities from submitting bids for government contracts in the U.S. Moreover, a company that is traded in the U.S. stock exchange (or other American capital markets) would need to state whether it has engaged in anti-Israeli activity in Europe.
Various US state governments have made moves recently to similarly penalize businesses seeking to boycott the Jewish state.