State Dept.: New trade bill can't defend Israeli's territories, which have spurred boycotts

Economic Indicators Associated Press

The Obama administration is taking issue with language in a new trade bill meant to discourage boycotts of Israel.

Continue Reading Below

The "fast track" trade bill takes aim at international efforts to punish Israel economically for its treatment of Palestinians.

The bill includes a bipartisan amendment that instructs U.S. negotiators to resist international efforts to impose sanctions against Israel related to "Israeli-controlled territories."

But the State Department said Tuesday the language "runs counter to longstanding U.S. policy" towards the disputed territories.

The statement says Democratic and Republican presidents have consistently opposed Israeli settlements that violated borders drawn in 1967.

Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland was a key sponsor of the amendment. His spokeswoman said it was never intended to make a judgment on the Israeli settlements.