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7 GOP Senators push law to label settlement goods as ‘made in Israel’

Anti-BDS Labeling Act would enshrine as law one of Trump’s final orders and comes in wake of Ben & Jerry’s decision to end sales in ‘occupied Palestinian territories’

Israeli winemaker Yaakov Berg holds a bottle of his red blend named after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Psagot Winery in the Sha'ar Binyamin industrial park near the Psagot settlement in the West Bank, north of Jerusalem on November 18, 2020. (Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)
Israeli winemaker Yaakov Berg holds a bottle of his red blend named after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Psagot Winery in the Sha'ar Binyamin industrial park near the Psagot settlement in the West Bank, north of Jerusalem on November 18, 2020. (Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Seven Republican senators are backing a bill that would enshrine as law one of former president Donald Trump’s final orders — requiring products from the portion of the West Bank controlled entirely by Israel to be labeled as originating in Israel.

The Anti-BDS Labeling Act introduced this week by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., refers to the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel.

It comes on the heels of the controversy surrounding ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s recent decision to pull its products out of the West Bank. Republican lawmakers, however, have been talking about enacting the Trump order since Dec. 23, when the lame-duck president issued the measure less than a month before leaving office.

Biden has not rescinded the order, which applies to goods manufactured in Area C, which is under Israeli control. Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had contemplated annexing the area.

The bill has no chance of passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Area C is where Jewish settlements are concentrated, although it also includes a Palestinian population.

Also in the West Bank are the much smaller Area A, which is under total Palestinian Authority control, and Area B under joint Israel-PA control. Under Trump’s order, products from those areas are labeled as coming from the West Bank.

In addition to Cotton, the bill is being backed by Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida; Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee; Ted Cruz of Texas; and John Boozman of Arkansas.

BDS generally refers to boycotts of all of Israel, not just of settlement goods. In announcing its new policy, Ben & Jerry’s said it did not adhere to the tenets of BDS.

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