On Thursday May 10, 2016, the eve of Israel’s Independence Day, Alabama’s Governor Bentley signed into law an anti-discrimination bill that will prevent companies or organizations that boycott or divest from Israel from doing business with the State.
Alabama joins twenty three states that have taken up legislation in response to the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement.
BDS is a global anti-Israel propaganda movement that is designed to economically harm Israel by boycotting goods originating in Israel, divesting from Israeli companies as well as international companies that do business in Israel.
The anti-Semitic BDS demonstrations have become common on US college campuses, demanding the colleges divest from companies that do business in Israel and Judea /Samaria area of Israel, also known as the “West Bank”. Many European companies and U.S. institutions such as the Presbyterian Church have fallen for the deception of the movement and are divesting funds from companies doing business in Israel. This not only harms Israel, but also harms the Palestinians that live and work for companies in the areas.
With the passage of the anti-discrimination bill, no government entity in Alabama, including state universities, can enter into a contract unless the contract includes a statement that the business does not boycott, divest from, or blacklist any state or jurisdiction with which Alabama or the United States has open trade
Senator Arthur Orr of Decatur, Alabama was instrumental in getting the bill to a vote in the Senate. In the House it was assisted by Mobile delegate and House Speaker Pro Tem Victor Gaston who said; “The BDS movement has no place in the state of Alabama as it harms the United States’ greatest ally and friend to Alabama, Israel.”
The new laws in individual States differ. Iowa, Florida and Arizona have passed laws that ban both procurement from, and investment in, companies that boycott Israel.
South Carolina, Colorado, Georgia have passed legislation similar to Alabama that prevents State agencies from entering into contracts with companies that boycott or divest from Israel. Maryland included in their budget bill.
Many other states recently passed legislation divesting their state pension funds from companies that boycott Israel goods or have other anti-Israel measures. Illinois has issued a list of companies that are banned from investment by the Illinois Investment Policy Board due to their participation in BDS against Israel.
Boycott and Divestment works both ways. The States know the truth about Israel and are standing strong with their friend and economic partner.
The United States Congress has taken similar measures. Congress has stood firmly on record opposing it the international Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement which continues to unjustly attack Israel economically. The Customs Bill now includes a new trade provision protecting American companies doing business in Israel and requires the administration to report on foreign companies that may be politically boycotting Israel. This puts into law firm anti-BDS negotiating rules for trade negotiators, especially in trade with the EU where the BDS movement is gaining a stronghold.
Church4Israel worked alongside the Alabama-Israel Task Force to get this important legislation passed in Alabama, lobbying Representatives and Senators to make the bill a top priority for passage. Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN.org) assisted in this effort with research on efforts in other states, strengthening the case for the passage of the bill.
If you are interested in passing similar legislation in your state, and would like information on successful strategy, contact Church4Israel@gmail.com. Church4Israel.com, an online educational ministry, will soon be posting the actual Bills as they are passed in each state for research purposes.
This important effort does take time and expense, so please consider a donation for this work.