The TPA and the Trojan Horse
The TPA and the Trojan Horse
By Naji Dahi /

On Monday, President Obama signed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, fast-tracking the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership). Yesterday, it was revealed that the bill has a hidden provision not to the liking of the Obama Administration. The Trojan horse amendment to the bill calls on U.S. trade negotiators to pressure European partners not to boycott Israeli businesses operating in the occupied Palestinian territories. The language here is very important. While the U.S. officially opposes the boycott, divest, sanction (BDS) movement against Israel, it also officially opposes the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as the building of Jewish settlements there. The language in the bill lends legitimacy to the idea that the occupied territories and Israel are one and the same. State Department spokesman John Kirby said,

“The United States government has … strongly opposed boycotts, divestment campaigns, and sanctions targeting the State of Israel, and will continue to do so…However, by conflating Israel and ‘Israeli-controlled territories,’ a provision of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation runs counter to longstanding U.S. policy towards the occupied territories, including with regard to settlement activity.”

It is highly likely that the administration knew about the language of the amendment beforehand and the president signed the bill into law anyway, given that the Huffington Post reported on the language as early as May 28, 2015. This shows that President Obama cares more about the free trade agreement than he does about the plight and agony of the Palestinian people under occupation. It is yet another sign of the U.S.’s pro-Israel bias despite the pretense of being a neutral arbiter of the conflict.

What is also disconcerting is the role that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) played in creating and inserting the amendment. As the Huffington Post reports,

“The passage of this language out of the Senate is a major victory for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group thatplayed an advisory role in drafting the language and pushed for its unmodified passage. [Emphasis added]

The amendments are based on a stand-alone bill authored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee…Cardin made no noticeable effort to gather co-sponsors or publicize the legislation. Rather, he, along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), offered the legislation as an add-on to the trade bill, where the subtle difference between opposing boycotts of businesses in “Israel” and in ‘territories controlled by Israel’ went unnoticed by lawmakers.”

This is proof positive of the power AIPAC has over members of Congress from both political parties. But it also shows the fear that Israel, AIPAC, and pro-Israel newspapers harbor toward the BDS movement. One of the most prestigious U.S. newspapers, the New York Times, has devoted several articles attacking and defaming the effort.

This debacle also shows how corrupt the American legislative process has become. This is not the first time powerful interests have played a role in writing legislation. These interest groups are becoming more bold—to the extent that they are dictating the actual language of the amendment. On May 23, 2013, the New York Times reported that some of the language of the financial regulations bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama was written by Citibank.

The sad reality of Congress today is that an institution the founding fathers intended to handle the business of the people has become an institution that does the business of interest groups—right down to allowing them to write the actual legislation as they see fit.

0.0 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
F*ck That: A Guided Meditation for the Realities of Today's World
2 min · 10,913 views today · Just acknowledge that all that sh*t is f*cking b*llshit — you're here now, in this place, with your inner stillness. Take in a deep breath ... now breathe out. Just feel the...
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 8,387 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 7,215 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Who I'm Voting For...
3 min · 5,215 views today · Prince Ea announces who he's voting for. It's probably not who you think.
25 Mind-Twisting Optical Illusion Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Dovas · 4,310 views today · The beautiful and mind-bending illusions in Canadian artist Robert Gonsalves’ paintings have a fun way of twisting your perception and causing you to question what in his...
Free Trade Explained In An Excellent Comic
Michael Goodwin, Illustrated by Dan E. Burr · 3,491 views today · The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are the latest in a long line...
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 3,069 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
Open Up - Have the Difficult But Important Conversations With Loved Ones
5 min · 2,311 views today · “The biggest casualty of humanity is the lack of communication, it’s the thing that breaks most relationships. It just feels so much better to talk and get it out.” There is...
#Hypernormalisation - Why Heathrow Plan Is Proof We Exist in a Catastrophic Fantasyland
Matthew Adams · 2,167 views today · The British government recently gave the green light for Heathrow airport’s third runway. It was heralded by its supporters as a vital boost for jobs and growth – and proof...
The Empire Vs. The People - Police Attack and Arrest Peaceful Protestors at the Dakota Access Pipeline
6 min · 1,554 views today · On October 22, just before dawn, hundreds of people, including many families, gathered and prepared to march toward the Dakota Access pipeline construction site near Standing...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,497 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,451 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
'Maritime Graveyard': 2016 Deadliest Year Ever for Refugees Crossing Mediterranean
Deirdre Fulton · 1,316 views today · "From one death for every 269 arrivals last year, in 2016 the likelihood of dying has spiraled to one in 88," says UNHCR spokesman
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 1,208 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
The Burden of the New Story
Adebayo Akomolafe · 1,207 views today · The 'new story' - that longed for milieu when all is right with the world and things are set straight - seems to be taking its sweet time coming. Why?
These Incredible Stories Remind Us of Our Better Selves
36 min · 764 views today · #WhoWeAre is a campaign to share the stories of people whose actions show us compassion and to send a message of empathy, hope and optimism. These videos will automatically...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 727 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Ode to Lesvos
5 min · 694 views today · An inspiring story of a few remarkable heroes on the Island of Lesvos who helped almost half a million refugees in 2015 has been documented in a new short film called Ode to...
No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire
Jake Johnson · 489 views today · When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things. One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged...
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 467 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
The TPA and the Trojan Horse