Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a measure that would have stopped the Biden administration from discriminating against Jewish-made Israeli products.
The Democratic members of the Senate Commerce Committee rejected a measure from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) that would have blocked the Federal Trade Commission from penalizing products produced by Israelis living in contested territories, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights.
Cruz offered the measure as a stop-gap amendment on legislation granting the FTC broad new powers to issue fines and other penalties to any online vendor that does not accurately disclose where its products are made. Supporters of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, including those in the Biden administration, have long worked to strip the "Made in Israel" label from products manufactured in so-called settlements, which they argue are not technically part of Israel.
Cruz's measure, first reported by the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday, said the FTC "may not discriminate against any community or entity in Israeli territory," including Jewish communities in contested areas.
"If you needed any more proof that the Democrat Party is controlled by the anti-Semitic 'Squad,' today's vote should end any debate," Cruz told the Free Beacon following the vote. "All the Democrats on the Commerce Committee voted to give the Biden administration a new tool to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel."
Cruz described the outcome as "absolutely appalling but unfortunately predictable."
Congressional sources working on the matter said the amendment was specifically offered to stop the Biden administration from using its new powers to target Israel and bolster the BDS movement. The State Department last month barred the federal government from collaborating on scientific research projects with Jewish Israelis living in contested areas, drawing accusations the administration is enabling the BDS movement.
The Obama administration pursued similar policies, including a contested 2016 order directing the American "trade community" to stop labeling goods produced in the West Bank as "made in Israel." European countries have enacted similar measures at the behest of the global BDS movement.