The Trump administration played a key role in thwarting a recent effort by the Irish government to boycott Israel and make it a crime for Irish citizens to purchase products made in contested areas of the Jewish state, a move that would have severely jeopardized Ireland's trade with the United States, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
The Irish Parliament was poised last week to pass a major piece of legislation that would make it crime to engage in trade with Israelis. The bill, which was seen as part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, would have imprisoned Irish citizens who purchased souvenirs in Israel for a maximum of five years and subjected them to a fine of more than $310,000.
Upon learning of the effort, senior Trump administration officials in the State Department are said to have scrambled to open up channels to Irish leaders in a bid to scuttle the bill and avoid a standoff with the Irish government over the measure.
"All the credit here goes to the Trump State Department," said one senior official at a major pro-Israel organization who is familiar with the administration's efforts to stop the bill.
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