America’s silent boycott of Judea and Samaria

While it has been widely publicized and is quite known that Israel’s largest trading partner, the EU, has decreed that products from Judea and Samaria be labelled, it is lesser known that the United States also has a policy that attempts to hinder Judea and Samaria from a financial perspective.

Dan Illouz, CEO of Di Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in Strategic Consulting and Government Relations, spoke to Arutz Sheva about what he believes to be the American boycott of Judea and Samaria, that has existed as official U.S. policy since 1967.

“A close look at the policy implemented by the U.S. State Department shows a constant pattern, not of labeling products from Judea and Samaria, but rather of implementing a complete boycott of Israelis in this region. This has been done under the radar, with very little media attention,” said Illouz.

Illouz referred to a statement made in 1985 by the late Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, as he questioned the second Reagan administration about its allocation of funds for Israel:

“It is my understanding that when foreign assistance funds are disbursed to Israel, the U.S. Government requires Israel to sign a stipulation that none of the funds will be used for settlements on the West Bank. Is that correct?”

The State Department answered bluntly: “The stipulation requiring that foreign assistance funds provided to Israel only to be used in the geographic areas which were subject to the Government of Israel’s administration prior to June 5,1967, has been the policy of every administration since 1967.”

Illouz said that the situation “is absurd.” While the State Department has no qualms about giving money to aid institutions or organizations in Gaza and Judea and Samaria as they do often to the Palestinians, Illouz said that they categorically refuse to give aid to any organization or institution in which Jews are involved in those areas. He cited the following example:

“The State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative turned down a grant proposal to provide support services to Jewish women living in Samaria whose loved ones were killed in terrorist attacks during the second Intifada.” According to Illouz the reason given for this denial as well as others were because “the grantee was an Israeli community, institution or organization.”

“If someone opposes a boycott against Israel in Europe, then they have to oppose the policy of the U.S. with regards to categorically refusing to give aid to any Jews living in Judea and Samaria,” Illouz challenged.

Illouz noted that the system is not easily explained, and that this “silent boycott” is well hidden under the bureaucracy, but it is still there. “While it can be justified in the American system, and I can see the complexities involved, the bottom line is that Jews are being boycotted.”

Illouz ended with a more modern example of this silent boycott.

“Barack Obama in the past year proudly signed a bill against the boycott of Israel, as an amendment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The amendment was to specifically mention ‘politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel’ because of its policies in ‘Israeli controlled territories.’ The State Department, however, refused this language, claiming it ‘runs counter to longstanding US policy’ toward Judea and Samaria. Spokesman John Kirby explained that the US policy has consistently opposed settlements and therefore ‘does not pursue policies or activities that would legitimize them.’ In other, less politically correct words,” said Illouz, “Kirby admitted that the US has no problem with the outright boycott of parts of Israel.”

Illouz has previously served as the legislative adviser to Knesset’s coalition; he also served in a legal capacity at Israel’s Foreign Ministry. He is a graduate of McGill University Law School in Montreal and Hebrew University’s master’s program in public policy.