The following is a statement from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee following yesterday's House Ways and Means Committee preliminary markup of the Bahrain Free Trade Agreement.
"We commend the United States Trade Representative Rob Portman for securing a commitment from the Bahraini government to dismantle its boycott of Israel, in all its forms.
"We also praise the efforts of the House Ways and Means Committee, in particular Chairman William Thomas, Trade Subcommittee Chairman Clay Shaw and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Ben Cardin for developing a reporting mechanism to monitor Bahrain's compliance with its anti-boycott pledge and to ensure that future trade agreements with Arab League members include similar commitments.
"This is an example of the successful use of American leverage to produce a positive change in Bahrain's policy and serves as a model for future trade negotiations. The breakdown of these kinds of economic barriers can, hopefully, help lead to the development of important political relationships between Israel and the Arab world.
"The Administration and Congress deserve praise for working together to eliminate all remaining vestiges of the Arab League boycott of Israel. This boycott is a failed and destructive policy that promotes divisiveness and instability. Today, as Israel once again takes bold and historic efforts to advance peace, the Arab boycott against Israel is an anachronism that must be brought to an end."