Alabama, a Forerunner State in Standing with Israel.
The Honorable Hilik Bar of Israel's Knesset addresses the Alabama legislators.

Alabama, a Forerunner State in Standing with Israel.

Then and now, Alabama recognizes Israel’s Right to Exist as a Jewish State and now condemns the Anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. 

In 1943 World War II was in full swing as the Axis powers were waging war against Europe and America. The extermination of the Jewish people in Europe was beginning. In the midst of the chaos of war, Alabama decided to take a stand for the Jewish people, do what was right, and made their place in history.

Leading the nation as the first state to officially call for the establishment of a Jewish state and homeland, the Alabama legislature passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate a Joint Resolution, Act 144 (SJR4) in 1943, supporting the creation of the state of Israel as a Jewish state and urging action from the US government and the United Nations. It was five years before it became reality.

On April 7th, 2016, the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) the Honorable Hilik Barr, spoke to a rare joint session of the Alabama legislature. He addressed the Lt. Governor and Alabama legislators with a well-received passionate speech describing the shared enemies of Israel and the United States and honored Alabama for being at the forefront of standing with Israel and against the political, cultural and economic attacks being perpetrated on Israel through the BDS movement.

Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Hilik Barr said in his address to the joint session of the Alabama legislature;

“Once again, Alabama is standing in the front-line of defending justice, and protecting Israel, and we are proud of you, and we are grateful of this. It is because of people like you, here in Alabama, that we know that Israel will never, ever stand alone.”

Alabama legislators that had assisted with the Joint resolution in February were honored by Mr. Bar with recognition for standing with the Jewish State.

Robin Rowan, founder of Church4Israel, with AL State Speaker Pro Tem Victor Gaston, and Hilik Bar, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset

John Buhler of Huntsville, founder of the Alabama-Israel Task Force, networked with Jewish and Christian leaders and attorneys throughout the state organizing the effort. Church4Israel of the Mobile, Alabama area worked closely alongside calling on Gulf Coast legislators to assist in getting the bill passed. Representative Victor Gaston of Mobile was thanked for his efforts as was Senator Rusty Glover of Mobile and Senator Tripp Pittman of Baldwin County.

It takes a team effort! John Buhler of Huntsville (Alabama-Israel Task Force), Daniel Odrezin of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, Attorney Lenora Pate, Senator Tripp Pittman (Baldwin County), Robin Rowan (Church4Israel), Steven Brickman and Donald Hess.

State of Alabama Recognizes Israel’s Right to Exist as a Jewish State and Condemns the Anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

2-17-2016 Robin Rowan for Church4Israel, see the original article here.

Alabama Senate Joint Resolution 6 “DENOUNCING THE BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, AND SANCTIONS (BDS) MOVEMENT” quickly passed unanimously both the House and Senate and was signed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on February 16, 2016.

The strongly worded Joint Resolution “reaffirms its support for the State of Israel as a Jewish State” and “recognizes that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel.” It also condemns “delegitimizing Israel by denying the historical Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, or the Holy Land.”

The purpose of the Resolution is to recognize the resurgence of global anti-Semitism currently being at its highest point since World War II and condemns the anti-Israel activities on college campuses. It recognizes that the increased Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has resulted in “intimidation and violence on University campuses, is harmful to the State’s Jewish citizens and has a deleterious impact on the educational environment.”

Other States that have passed similar Resolutions are New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Tennessee and California. Legislative Bills against the BDS movement have been passed by Illinois and South Carolina.

Alabama has a great history of supporting Israel. Before Israel existed, in the midst of World War II, Alabama led the nation in an official call for the establishment of the Jewish State and Homeland. The Joint resolution was unanimous and signed by the Governor on June 10, 1942.

Alabama State Senator Arthur Orr from Decatur sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 6 and said, “The BDS movement has targeted the Jewish state for economic and political sanctions and with a dramatic increase of BDS activity now also reaching U.S. college campuses, our position must be clear. Alabama sends a strong message with SJR 6 denouncing the BDS Movement and affirming we stand with our closest ally in the Middle East.”

Alabama House Speaker Pro Tem, Victor Gaston of Mobile stated, “I am proud to have had a role in the House Rules Committee assisting with the now unanimous passing of this important Resolution. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement has no place in the State of Alabama as it harms the United States’ greatest ally and friend to Alabama, Israel.”

Jewish and Christian leaders united from across the state to help get this important Resolution passed.

The Birmingham Jewish Federation, Church4Israel based on the Alabama gulf coast and leaders in Montgomery and Birmingham came together with leadership from The Alabama-Israel Task Force in Huntsville to get this important Resolution passed. Alabama’s support for Israel is represented in unity of the Christian and Jewish communities throughout the State.

For more details on the dangerous BDS Movement see Church4Israel article “The Presbyterian Church USA Turns Against Israel”

The State of Alabama is clear on its stand. – Excerpts from SJR6 –

“BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That we unequivocally denounce and reject the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement and any furtherance of this movement in this state.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Legislature of the State of Alabama rejects any activities that contribute directly or indirectly to the delegitimization of the sovereignty of Israel as a Jewish State including, but not limited to, promotion of economic, cultural, and academic boycotts against Israel.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Legislature of the State of Alabama considers the international BDS Movement and its agenda inherently antithetical and deeply damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Legislature of the State of Alabama reaffirms its support for the State of Israel as a Jewish State, recognizes that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel, condemns all attacks on the people of Israel, supports Israel’s right to engage in lawful acts of self-defense, opposes all attempts to economically and politically isolate Israel within the international arena, and opposes efforts to assault the legitimacy of Israel as the sovereign homeland of the Jewish people.”