TTIP, BDS and the illegal settlements

08.07.2015 - Silvia Swinden

TTIP, BDS and the illegal settlements
(Image by Friends of the Earth Troyanhorse)

Not much has been said about the way the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and the EU) will affect BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) campaign against Israel. In fact when Obama signed the Trade Promotion Authority bill last week, it included a provision that “requires the U.S. Trade Representative to discourage European Union countries from boycotting ‘Israel or persons doing business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories’ during free-trade negotiations between the U.S. and the EU.”

The good news is that Obama has made a correction to the bill by clarifying it does not consider the East Jerusalem settlements to be part of Israel and therefore boycott to their products is kosher. This is an acknowledgment that the settlers are an obstacle for the two states solution, the preferred option for most peace seeking groups both sides of the (1967) border.

Whether BDS is the solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict has been widely debated (Desmond Tutu and Steven Hawking all for it, Chomsky has misgivings) but it has given a focus of international cooperation between progressive forces that refuse to support violence in the region, whichever side it comes from.

The worrying point here is that like Alien projecting successive rows of flesh-seeking teeth the TTIP continues to unveil its intention to reach into unsuspecting areas of commerce promoting control by corporations and reducing the choices people, institutions and governments may decide to make, e.g., for ethical reasons.

Categories: Economics, Europe, International, Middle East, North America
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