US State Department Tacitly Accepts Settlement Boycotts

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US State Department Tacitly Accepts Settlement Boycotts

July 1, 2015–Yesterday the U.S. State Department released a statement asserting that the United States will not extend its diplomatic protection to Israeli settlements. As reported by columnist Chemi Shalev in the liberal Israeli daily Haaretz: “The boycott of settlements, in effect, has now been officially stamped “kosher” by the State Department.”

Writing that “by conflating Israel and ‘Israeli-controlled territories,’ a provision of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation runs counter to longstanding U.S. policy towards the occupied territories,” the U.S. State Department confirmed its opposition to Israeli settlement construction, and challenged the implications of the pro-settlement provisions slipped into the controversial ‘fast track’ legislation.

That the State Department has, in effect, condoned boycott as a tactic to put pressure on Israel to halt its illegal settlement construction is an important step forward for the movement for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” stated Rabbi Joseph Berman, Jewish Voice for Peace’s Government Affairs Liaison. “However, it will take more than a condemnation of settlements to end Israel’s continued aggression and intransigence when it comes to Palestinian human rights. There is a growing grassroots movement to put nonviolent pressure on Israel to change its policies, and its time the United States takes responsibility for its role in providing financial and diplomatic support which enables Israel to continue with impunity.

Jewish Voice for Peace and other advocates of a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians opposed an amendment to the controversial Fast Track trade legislation, supported by AIPAC, that condemned the grassroots movement for justice and equality for Palestinians. The amendment was specifically aimed at opposing European Union efforts to comply with international law by labeling and boycotting settlement products, and included language that aimed to extend U.S. protection the the illegal Israeli settlements.

Concerned that the legislation would put a chilling effect on nonviolent efforts to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel until it complies with international law, thousands of Jewish Voice for Peace members sent letters, made phone calls, wrote letters to the editor and opinion articles asking their representatives to oppose the Fast Track legislation.


Jewish Voice for Peace ( is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 200,000 online supporters, over 65 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.

For Reference: 

JVP’s press release on Fast Track
Foreign Policy in Focus: Lawmakers are Using Trade Rules to Blacklist Critics of Israel (June 24, 2015)
The Jerusalem Post: US Congress Passes Rare Law Targeting Boycotts of Israel (June 24, 2015)
Wall Street Journal: Congress Can Fight the Boycott Israel Movement (May 26, 2015)
The San Francisco Chronicle: Trade Measures Could Shift US Policy on Israeli Settlements (May 17, 2015)
Salon: Congress’ Destructive Anti-Palestinian Agenda: The international outrage the no one is talking about (May 14, 2015)
The Hill: Anti-Palestinian amendments went down with TPA (May 13, 2015)
Politico: AIPAC-backed amendments add to trade bill turmoil (May 11, 2015)
The Hill: Dear Congress, Pro-Israel is not Pro-Settlements (April 27, 2015)
The Forward: In Stealth Move, Congress Backs Israeli Right’s War on Settlement Boycotts (April 24, 2015)

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