Judicial Watch Sues to Obtain Anti-Israel Boycott Records of Obama Administration

Michael W. Chapman | August 7, 2018 | 4:50pm EDT
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Judicial Watch President
Tom Fitton. (YouTube)

(CNSNews.com) -- The government watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department, Homeland Security, and the State Department to obtain the records concerning the anti-Israel group Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions' (BDS) efforts "to lobby the Obama administration to adopt policies to harm companies doing business with Israel," reported the group in a statement. 

“Americans deserve to know if the Obama-era agenda of supporting anti-Israel radicals in subverting U.S. law is ongoing,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“These entrenched bureaucrats of the Deep State clearly require lawsuits to compel observance of FOIA law," he added.

Judicial Watch filed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit -- Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense -- on July 24 because the federal departments and agencies in question did not respond to a standard FOIA request for the information back in April. 

Former President Barack Obama.  (YouTube)

The lawsuit is seeking "all emails to or from current or former officials in the [DOD, DHS, or State] Office of the Secretary containing the phrase 'boycott divestment and sanctions," and all emails "to or from current or former officials in the [DOD, DHS, or State] Office of the Secretary containing both the terms 'BDS' and 'Israel,'" stated Judicial Watch.

The timeframe covers the period of Jan. 1, 2015 - Dec. 31, 2015.

As Judicial Watch explains, in February 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 into law. The legislation was designed, in part, to compel U.S. trade partners "to cut ties to the BDS movement and protect Israeli territories from illegal discrimination." 

The BDS is an international anti-Israel boycott movement, endorsed by the PLO, which seeks to economically punish Israel until it complies with the directives of the alleged international community, including the removal of the separation barrier in the West Bank, Israeli withdrawal from the territories, and the right of return of Palestinians. 

Although President Obama signed the Trade Enforcement Act, he stated at the time, "Certain provisions of this Act, by conflating Israel and 'Israeli-controlled territories,' are contrary to longstanding bipartisan United States policy, including with regard to the treatment of settlements."

Supporters of the anti-Israel BDS movement.  (YouTube)

Shortly thereafter, "the Customs and Border Protection Bureau restated the West Bank Country of Origin Marking Requirement rules requiring labeling of goods as being from the 'West Bank,' despite the fact that it is not a sovereign country," reported Judicial Watch. 

In addition, the Jerusalem Post reported that "the restated rules were a result of several complaints filed by activists seeking the U.S. follow policy guidelines distinguishing goods produced from Israel and the West Bank," said Judicial Watch. 

The labeling of goods made by Jewish businesses in the West Bank is viewed by Israeli supporters as a way to support BDS.

In January 2016, the European Union took steps to single out and label any products produced by Jewish businesses in the West Bank, a step the Obama administration supported.

Supporters of the BDS movement.  (YouTube)

At the time, Jan. 19, 2016, The Israel Project tweeted, "Just as marker for record, today was when most pro-Israel admin ever came out in support of slapping labels on Jewish goods from West Bank."

The Israel Project also tweeted, "Lots of people believe Obama admin coordinated w/ EU on labeling while denying in public. @statedeptspox stmt will be taken as confirmation."

The Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit is seeking to find out what communications were received and exchanged by the Obama administration regarding BDS and whether any pro-BDS actions taken by the Obama regime are still ongoing. 

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