California legislature passes anti-BDS bill

California State Assembly votes 60-0 to send anti-BDS bill to the governor for approval.

Elad Benari,

BDS (illustration)
BDS (illustration)
Reuters

The California State Assembly voted 60-0 on Tuesday to send an anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) bill to the governor for approval, a week after the Senate passed it, JTA reports.

The bill, which the Senate passed in a 34-1 vote on August 24, differed from its original version introduced in April by Assemblyman Richard Bloom.

The earlier version banned the state from making contracts worth over $100,000 with companies boycotting Israel. In order to satisfy critics, who said it violated the constitutional right to boycott, the bill was modified to remove references to the Jewish state.

The version that was passed Tuesday does not prohibit companies working with the state from boycotting Israel, noted JTA. Rather, companies have to certify that they do not violate California civil rights laws in boycotting a foreign country, according to The Jewish Journal.

“The bottom line is that the state should not subsidize discrimination in any form,” Bloom said Monday in the State Assembly.

Governor Jerry Brown now has 12 days to approve or veto the measure.

By passing the bill, California joins several other U.S. states that have passed anti-BDS laws in recent months.

Most recently, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie adopted an anti-BDS bill.

The bill signed by Governor Christie had passed both the State Senate and Assembly almost unanimously. The new legislation will prohibit pension fund investment in entities that call for a boycott of Israel, and mandates a special report which will be presented to the State’s legislators to guarantee that the bill is being implemented.

In June, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order banning state companies from collaborating with entities that promote BDS.

Other states to have passed similar laws are Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Tennessee and Virginia.

Dean Schramm, the American Jewish Committee's Los Angeles chairman, said his group is "very confident" that Governor Brown will sign the bill into law.

“This bill sends the clear and unmistakable message that the state of California wants no part of the goals and tactics of this pernicious movement," Janna Weinstein Smith, director of the AJC's Los Angeles Region, said in a statement quoted by JTA.


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