Cruz Moves to Block FTC From Penalizing Israeli Companies

Senator Ted Cruz (R., Tex.) / Getty Images
July 26, 2023

As Congress prepares to grant the Federal Trade Commission power to penalize foreign companies, a Republican lawmaker is working to ensure the agency can’t use its newfound authority to punish Israel.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) is offering an amendment to legislation before the Senate Commerce Committee that would let the FTC issue fines and other penalties to any online seller that does not accurately disclose where their products are made. Cruz’s amendment, a copy of which was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, would block the FTC from penalizing Israeli companies based in contested territories like the West Bank and Golan Heights.

Supporters of the anti-Semitic  Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement 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. The Obama administration pursued similar policies, including a contested 2016 order directing "trade community" to stop labeling goods produced in the West Bank as "made in Israel."

Under Cruz’s amendment, the FTC "may not discriminate against any community or entity in Israeli territory," including Jewish communities in contested areas.

Congressional sources tell the Free Beacon that the amendment would effectively stop the Biden administration from bolstering its efforts to target Israel as it clashes with the conservative government of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The White House last month barred the federal government from collaborating on scientific research projects with Jewish Israelis living in contested areas.