The US senate has taken new steps to put pressure on Arab states to lift the boycott of Israel. On 27 January, the senate voted in favour of an amendment, called the anti-economic discrimination act of 1994, to the US State Department funding bill that will end the sale of US defence services or articles to Middle East countries which adhere to the secondary and tertiary boycott.

The amendment will allow the president to waive sanctions of the bill in particular cases for a period of 12 months. ‘I believe with this tool (the waiver) in place in the law, we will find the president has far more leverage to end the secondary and tertiary boycotts, and we will certainly find much stronger protection for American business,’ senator Hank Brown said during the debate. Brown said the boycott ‘strikes at the very ability of Israel to move forward the peace process’.

In 1993, Brown said the anti-boycott compliance office in the Commerce Department documented 8,660 boycott requests from Arab states or companies. The requests require US firms to comply with the conditions of the boycott, which is not allowed under US law.