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Biden administration expands penalties for complying with Arab League boycott of Israel

The Biden administration will enhance penalties for compliance with the decades-old Arab League boycott of Israel, at a moment when some longtime participants have opted out and others are doubling down.

Matthew Axelrod, the assistant commerce secretary for export enforcement, told the American Jewish Committee on Thursday that those complying with the boycott will now be required to admit wrongdoing before settling with the U.S. government, and that they will be subject to penalties if their foreign subsidiaries comply with the boycott. Companies until now did not have to acknowledge participating in the boycott when they settled charges.

Axelrod, meeting with the AJC at its Washington, D.C., office, said the boycott, which has existed since before Israel was established as a state and which Congress made illegal in the 1970s, was weakening. Notably, he said, the four Arab countries that in 2020 normalized relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords are all members of the Arab League, and all have discarded the boycott.

Other countries were recommitting to their Israel boycotts, however, he said.

Read More: JTA