Yesterday a meeting of the European Parliament Committee on International Trade (INTA) had an exchange of views with US Ambassador William Kennard on EU-US Trade relations.
Joe Higgins, Irish Socialist Party MEP, confronted the American Ambassador over his country’s trading relationship with Israel:
Is trade still a value-free activity that must not involve human rights and other rights?
Or what has significantly changed in the new administration?
And if something has significantly changed, why does your administration still continue to give massively favourable economic support and treatment to states that violate, blatantly, human rights, including Israel and what will the outcome be of the disaster and the massacre of people bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza?
And will that make any change to how you trade with the state of Israel, for example?
Part of Ambassador Kennard’s answer to those questions is the blog title.
Israel, I apologise, I did not address that.
Yesterday, we all witnessed a tragedy on the high seas involving an effort to bring supplies of humanitarian aid into Gaza.
The President immediately issued a statement.
I don’t know what to say other than, before we draw any conclusions, we need to figure out what happened.
I think that anytime something like this happens, it’s important to understand what are the facts, what really happened and then deal with it appropriately.