US President Barack Obama (AP) (AP)
US President Barack Obama

The Obama Administration disapproved of a section of a bipartisan congressional bill opposing boycotts of products from Judea and Samaria, but reluctantly signed the legislation.

A wide-ranging bill that revamps U.S. trade laws won final congressional approval Thursday. The Senate voted 75-20 for the measure, sending it to President Barack Obama.

However, the White House took issue with a provision opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel that uses the phrase “Israeli-controlled territories.” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the provision contradicts U.S. policy toward Israeli “settlements” in Judea and Samaria, which U.S. policy considers to be illegitimate.

Democrats also disliked provisions barring trade agreements that would curb some efforts to restrict greenhouse gas emissions, a major contributor to climate change, or would force the U.S. to revamp its immigration laws.

The new legislation, known as the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, was presented last summer and received overwhelming bipartisan support.

The Obama Administration officially backed the European Union’s recent decision to label Israeli products from Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, which infuriated Israelis across the political spectrum. In addition, in January the US reissued guidelines labeling the products, insisting that this action does not constitute a boycott.

Earlier this week, a bipartisan congressional bill, the Combating BDS Act of 2016, aimed to protect the rights of state and local governments to withdraw their business from companies or entities that engage in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, was introduced.

By: United with Israel Staff and AP