Ireland’s Radical Israel-Boycott Bill Could Have Devastating Consequences—for Ireland

July 12 2018

Yesterday, the upper house of the Irish legislature passed a bill that would forbid doing business with “settlements” anywhere in the world. If it becomes law, Orde Kittrie writes, it will have serious and perhaps disastrous consequences:

While the bill does not mention Israel or Palestine, the Irish senator Frances Black and its other cosponsors have declared that it was designed to prohibit transactions relating to Israeli settlers and settlements in the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Black previously signed a letter calling for a boycott of all Israeli products and services. Even though there are several contentious occupations closer to Europe—including Russia’s occupation of Crimea, Turkey’s occupation of Northern Cyprus, and Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara—the Irish bill is drafted to apply only to Israeli settlements.

The bill, if enacted, would put at risk Ireland’s economic links to the United States, which are vital to Irish prosperity. The U.S. in 2017 accounted for 67 percent of all foreign direct investment in Ireland. Yet this bill could make U.S. companies with divisions or subsidiaries in Ireland, Irish companies with divisions or subsidiaries in the U.S., and their employees who are Irish citizens or resident in Ireland, choose between violating the Irish law and violating the anti-boycott provisions of the U.S. Export Administration regulations. Violations of these U.S. anti-boycott laws are punishable by fines and by imprisonment for up to ten years.

Some 700 U.S. companies currently employ over 155,000 people in Ireland. These companies include Apple, whose Irish operations currently make it Ireland’s largest company. . . . If the Irish bill becomes law, it could create problems for companies like Apple. Many components inside Apple’s iPhones are made in Israel. Apple’s second largest research-and-development office is located in Herzliya, and several key Apple suppliers are located elsewhere in Israel. If an engineer in Apple’s Herzliya office lives in Jerusalem, and telecommutes from home for a day, will Apple be at risk of providing a settlement service in violation of Irish law?

While Ireland considers Jerusalem an Israeli settlement, the U.S. government recognizes it as Israel’s capital. If Apple fires an engineer because it wants to avoid problems with Irish law and he insists on telecommuting from his Jerusalem home, would Apple be violating U.S. law by participating in Ireland’s boycott of Israeli settlements?

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Fortune

More about: BDS, Ireland, Israel & Zionism, Settlements, U.S. Foreign policy

By Recognizing Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan, the U.S. Has Freed Israel from “Land for Peace”

March 25 2019

In the 52 years since Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria, there have been multiple efforts to negotiate their return in exchange for Damascus ending its continuous war against the Jewish state. Shmuel Rosner argues that, with his announcement on Thursday acknowledging the legitimacy of Jerusalem’s claim to the Golan, Donald Trump has finally decoupled territorial concessions from peacemaking:

[With] the takeover of much of Syria by Iran and its proxies, . . . Israel had no choice but to give up on the idea of withdrawing from the Golan Heights. But this reality involves a complete overhaul of the way the international community thinks not just about the Golan Heights but also about all of the lands Israel occupied in 1967. . . .

Withdrawal worked for Israel once, in 1979, when it signed a peace agreement with Egypt and left the Sinai Peninsula, which had also been occupied in 1967. But that also set a problematic precedent. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt insisted that Israel hand back the entire peninsula to the last inch. Israel decided that the reward was worth the price, as a major Arab country agreed to break with other Arab states and accept Israel’s legitimacy.

But there was a hidden, unanticipated cost: Israel’s adversaries, in future negotiations, would demand the same kind of compensation. The 1967 line—what Israel controlled before the war—became the starting point for all Arab countries, including Syria. It became a sacred formula, worshiped by the international community.

What President Trump is doing extends far beyond the ability of Israel to control the Golan Heights, to settle it, and to invest in it. The American president is setting the clock back to before the peace deal with Egypt, to a time when Israel could argue that the reward for peace is peace—not land. Syria, of course, is unlikely to accept this. At least not in the short term. But maybe someday, a Syrian leader will come along who doesn’t entertain the thought that Israel might agree to return to the pre-1967 line and who will accept a different formula for achieving peace.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at New York Times

More about: Donald Trump, Golan Heights, Israel & Zionis, Peace Process, Sinai Peninsula, Syria