FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: James Arnold or Mary Collins Atkinson (202) 224-2353
July 29, 2021 

Cotton, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Ban Anti-Semitic Country-of-Origin Labels

Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) introduced the Anti-BDS Labeling Act to prohibit the Biden administration from reversing current guidelines that require Israeli goods produced in areas where Israel exercises the relevant authorities to be labeled as “Made in Israel.” Such a change would help the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement to target particular Israeli companies and goods. Text of the bill may be found here.

“Left-wing activists abuse county-of-origin labels in order to stigmatize products made in Israel. Our bill will defend the integrity of the Jewish State by ensuring that Israeli products may proudly bear the label ‘Made in Israel,’” said Cotton.

“As our most strategic and important ally in the Middle East, Israel should be assured that the U.S. government will not reverse course and take part in the campaign to delegitimize its authority and punish its economy,” said Boozman. “This legislation would ensure our support for the Jewish state, which reached new heights under the Trump administration, remains steadfast and rejects anti-Semitic movements attempting to undermine it.”

“We cannot allow the disgusting rise of anti-Semitism to continue to permeate our country and the halls of Congress. I’m proud to join this effort and continue my strong support of our great ally Israel. I will always stand with our Jewish community and fight the BDS movement and anti-Semitism wherever it is found,” said Scott.

“As the co-author of the bipartisan Combating BDS Act of 2021, I’m proud to join this legislative effort that would prohibit President Biden and his administration from reversing a common-sense Trump-era policy,” said Rubio. “As the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement continues with its destructive anti-Israel campaign, we must ensure products made in Israel aren’t the prime targets of economic warfare.”

“The antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is engaged in discriminatory economic warfare targeting the Jewish state of Israel.  Last year, President Trump dealt a serious blow to the BDS movement when he ended the U.S. government’s discriminatory treatment of Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria, and required these imported goods to be labeled as ‘Made in Israel.’  I’m proud to support Senator Cotton’s important legislation to counter efforts by the BDS movement and its anti-Israel supporters to pressure the Biden Administration into reversing President Trump’s pro-Israel policy change,” said Hagerty.

“Tennesseans are proud to stand with Israel. We must not allow the Biden Administration to roll back existing policy and allow the singling out and discrimination against products made in Israel,” said Blackburn. “It is a double standard that is not applied to other sovereign nations involved in territorial disputes.”

“Campaigns to boycott or discriminate against Israel and Israeli Jews are driven by antisemitic hate. I am proud to join Sen. Cotton on this bill blocking the Biden administration from reversing current guidelines that allow the State of Israel to exercise their sovereignty when marking goods made in their own country,” said Cruz.

“Israel is a pluralistic democracy in a repressive region, and one of America’s closest allies. Amid rising hate crimes and increasing anti-Israel rhetoric, we should not be supporting policies that promote anti-Semitism,” said Tillis. “I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation to allow Israel to maintain appropriate country-of-origins labeling for goods produced in areas they exercise relevant authority.”

Background:

  • In 1995, the Clinton administration changed longstanding U.S. policy and required “Made in West Bank” country-of-origin (COO) labels for Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria, even though the U.S. government treats these products as “articles of Israel” for trade purposes.
  • In 2016, the Obama administration republished these labeling guidelines as part of a broader effort to oppose the Israeli government.
  • In November 2020, Senator Cotton led a letter to President Trump urging the administration to change U.S. customs policy and guidelines to allow Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria to be labeled "Made in Israel."
  • Following Senator Cotton’s letter, the Trump administration created new guidelines that required Israeli goods produced in areas where Israel exercised the relevant authorities to be labeled as “Made in Israel.” 

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