Either Cooperate With Israel or Pay the Price

Source: Electronic Intifada

by Ciaran Tierney • The Electronic Intifada • 23 February 2019

Peter King (right), seen here with Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and US President Donald Trump, is trying to prevent the Dublin authorities from banning Israel’s settlement goods.
Aaron P. Bernstein Reuters

A grouping of US politicians has threatened Ireland with economic repercussions if it bans goods from Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Both houses in the Irish parliament, the Oireachtas, have approved a bill to outlaw Israel’s settlement exports during the past few months. Ten US lawmakers have reacted to the moves by warning that a ban could have “potentially severe implications” for the country.

In a letter to Irish political leaders, the 10 members of Congress suggested that some corporations investing in Ireland would be violating US export regulations if the Dublin authorities enforced a ban on Israel’s settlement goods.

That appears to be a reference to rules introduced by the US during the 1970s in response to the Arab League boycott of Israel. Under these rules, US companies may not take part in boycott activities unless they have been approved by the federal government.

Claiming that the “stakes for Ireland are high,” the lawmakers note the importance of US investment for the country. They cite data suggesting that the US accounted for 67 percent of all foreign direct investment in Ireland during 2017.

Apple, they note, is the largest company active in Ireland, which also has attracted considerable investment from Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

Among the recipients of the letter were Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s taoiseach (prime minister) and Simon Coveney, the foreign minister. It was also sent to Micheál Martin, leader of the main opposition party Fianna Fáil.

Its 10 signatories included Peter King, a long-standing member of Congress for New York and Eliot Engel, who chairs the foreign affairs committee in the House of Representatives.

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