This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging the Administration to change U.S. customs policy and guidelines to allow Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria to be labeled “Made in Israel.” Other signers of the letter included Republican U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia.
The full text of the letter is below.
We write to urge you to change U.S. customs policy and guidelines to allow Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria to be labeled “Made in Israel.”
We appreciate your leadership and many achievements in support of Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the United Nations and some prominent members of the Democratic Party are working to oppose Israel and to support the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate and damage Israel economically. In order to provide the BDS movement with targets for its anti-Israel boycotts, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released on February 12, 2020 a blacklist of over 100 Israeli, U.S., and other international companies operating in Judea and Samaria.
In 2016, the Obama administration republished country-of-origin labeling guidelines introduced by the Clinton administration in 1995. These Clinton-era guidelines changed longstanding U.S. policy to require “Made in West Bank ” labels to be put on Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria, even though the U.S. government treats these products as “articles of Israel” for trade purposes. While it is our understanding that this labeling policy is not enforced by U.S. authorities, we are concerned that a future administration could choose to enforce these rules and thereby differentiate Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria, making them prime targets for BDS boycotts.
Your administration should continue its string of pro-Israel policy changes by undoing these misguided Clinton-era guidelines, thereby allowing Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria to be labeled as “Made in Israel.” This decision would be yet another achievement by your administration that would support Israel and would push back against anti-Semitism and the BDS movement.
Thank you for considering this important matter. We look forward to hearing from you.