Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Cardin Brags about Anti-BDS Clause in Senate Trade Bill

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Cardin Brags about Anti-BDS Clause in Senate Trade Bill

Article excerpt

Now in the middle of his second term as senator, Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) has become one of the leading congressional voices seeking to curb the growth of American support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In April Cardin successfully inserted into the Senate "fast track" Trade Bill (S.995) a lengthy clause making it "a principal negotiating objective" of the United States to discourage BDS campaigns against Israel in trade talks with the European Union, according to Josh Ruebner, policy director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

According to an article in the June 6 New York Times, "The trade legislation is notable in part because the scope of its blacklisting could include companies that refuse to do business with Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, even though they [the settlements] are widely considered illegal."

Six days after the Senate version of the 2015 Trade Act passed the full Senate on May 22, an exultant Cardin-a member of the Senate Finance Committee, where his amendment originated, and since April the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee-gave the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, at its headquarters in North Bethesda, Maryland. His speech was titled "American Leadership in the Middle East."

While Cardin gave considerable attention to the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, and his support for the Obama administration efforts in this regard, he devoted the bulk of his remarks to trying to persuade his attentive audience that a fearful anti-Semitism is on the rise, in the U.S. as well as Europe, and that the growing BDS movement on U.S. campuses and elsewhere is wittingly or unwittingly nurturing this threat. Cardin also asserted that anti-Semitism is on the increase locally, in Montgomery County, Maryland, as well as in Baltimore and on campuses across the country. The American senator emphasized that "the safety of Jewish communities around the world" was an important concern for him.

Cardin attempted to distance himself a bit from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's controversial speech before Congress several months ago by quickly and softly saying, "He shouldn't have. …

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