US Senator Ben Cardin has been pushing to pass legislation designed to suppress the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.
During the last Congressional session, Cardin made his agenda a “principal negotiating objective” of the United States “to discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel”.
The discouragement of BDS extended to boycotts of products made in Israeli occupied territories, which the bill referred to as “Israeli-controlled territories.”
All of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights are considered illegal under international law.
Cardin introduced the Israel Anti-Boycott Act on 23 March, which was designed to coincide with the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The influential Israeli lobby group made the bill one of its top legislative priorities.
The bill opposes the creation of a database of Israeli settlement companies by the UN Human Rights Council and aims at disrupting any efforts to boycott these companies’ products.
Cardin says the bill seeks to “prevent the implementation of similar ‘blacklists’ or boycotts in the future.”
Back in December 2016, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution against Israeli settlements in Palestine, demanding that Israel stop "immediately and completely" activities related to illegal settlements.
However, Israel has condemned the resolution, saying it will not comply with it.