Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A view of the unlawful Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev in the illegally occupied West Bank of Palestine. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)

The illegal Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev is located in the illegally occupied West Bank of Palestine near Ramallah. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli /AFP via Getty Images) 

Jewish Groups Urge Biden to 'Review and Revoke' Trump-Era 'Made in Israel' Settlement Goods Policy

The groups said that the previous administration's order "runs counter to the Biden administration's policy of opposing settlement activity and unilateral annexation of territory."

Brett Wilkins

Half a dozen pro-Israel groups on Wednesday sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging the Biden administration to "review and revoke" a Trump-era directive requiring products made in illegal Jewish-only settler colonies in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem to be labeled "Made in Israel." 

The six groups—Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, J Street, the New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, and T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights—wrote that the previous administration's order "is inconsistent with current U.S. policy on the status of the occupied territories, requires inaccurate and misleading labeling on the origin of products, and is harmful to the essential interests of Israelis and Palestinians alike."

For decades, the U.S. nominally opposed Israeli settlement construction and expansion while tacitly approving such actions. A 1978 State Department legal opinion (pdf)—which held until the Trump administration officially repudiated it last year—stated that as a "belligerent occupant," Israel had no right to establish such settlements. 

The Jewish groups' letter further stated that the Trump-era directive, which was issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, "attempts to reverse decades of U.S. policy that makes a firm distinction between Israel and the West Bank" and "runs counter to the Biden administration's policy of opposing settlement activity and unilateral annexation of territory as harmful to the prospects for the peaceful, just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." 

HuffPost, which first reported the groups' letter, called it "a powerful symbolic move," noting that the Palestinian Authority condemned the former administration's "Made in Israel" directive as a "war crime." 

While many Palestinians welcomed the departure of former President Donald Trump—whose administration touted itself as the "most pro-Israel" in history—others have noted that President Joe Biden has said that fundamentally, nothing would change regarding U.S. support for Israel. That support includes billions of dollars in annual aid and unfailing diplomatic backing. 

On the campaign trail last year, vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris told a group of Jewish donors that a Biden administration would not place any conditions on U.S. aid to Israel, and that it would continue the "unprecedented" military and intelligence cooperation with the Jewish state the country received from the Obama administration. Biden's presidential campaign also said it "firmly rejects" the peaceful international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

At Times Square Rally, Activists Demand Congress 'Tax the Rich'

"If billionaires can afford to go to space, they can afford to pay their fair share."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Recess Can Wait': 23 Groups Demand Senate Stay in DC to Pass For the People Act

"It would be unconscionable for the Senate to break for recess without addressing the ongoing assaults on our democratic systems happening across the nation."

Jessica Corbett ·


Nina Turner Primary Opponent Shontel Brown Facing Felony Ethics Probe

"This is certainly a shocking revelation and it raises very serious ethical and legal questions," says Kara Turrentine, Turner's deputy campaign manager.

Brett Wilkins ·


Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel of 'Apparent War Crimes' During May Assault on Gaza

"Israeli forces carried out attacks in Gaza in May that devastated entire families without any apparent military target nearby."

Jessica Corbett ·


Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Sentenced to 45 Months in Prison 'For Exposing US War Crimes'

"His crime was telling this truth: 90% of those killed by U.S. drones are bystanders, not the intended targets," said Edward Snowden. "He should have been given a medal."

Kenny Stancil ·