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US pressed European lawmakers to oppose BDS, report shows

Paper delivered to Congress says diplomats ‘strongly urged’ Irish lawmakers to cancel bill banning settlement goods, spoke to officials in Berlin ahead of anti-BDS legislation

Illustrative: Demonstrators protesting outside the Spanish government delegation in Barcelona, October 20, 2015. (Albert Llop/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images via JTA)
Illustrative: Demonstrators protesting outside the Spanish government delegation in Barcelona, October 20, 2015. (Albert Llop/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images via JTA)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — US diplomats in Dublin and Berlin pressed lawmakers and officials in Ireland and Germany to oppose bids to boycott Israel or the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

A State Department report delivered last week to Congress and obtained Monday by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency lists actions taken by US diplomats to oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel in compliance with a 2015 law mandating such periodic reports.

According to the report, the diplomats engaged senior government officials and party leaders in Ireland “strongly urging them to drop their support” for a bill that would target for penalties the importing of goods from settlements in the West Bank.

The bill passed a reading in January but has not fully completed the legislative process. The State Department document says it is not clear if the measure will advance. Ireland’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, opposes the bill, the report says, as he fears it would limit Irish influence in the region.

In Germany, the report notes that a court last year dismissed a lawsuit filed by an Israeli against Kuwait Airlines because it would not allow the passenger to board a flight. Following the ruling, the report says, “Embassy Berlin engaged senior officials,” adding that the embassy routinely “conducts outreach” to German officials, as well as federal and state lawmakers, with respect to Israel and Jewish life.

Subsequently, the parliament approved a resolution designating BDS as anti-Semitic.

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