California Governor signs anti-BDS bill into law

California becomes latest state to pass legislation against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Elad Benari,

Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown
Reuters

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that prevents companies that boycott or discriminate against any sovereign country, including Israel, from doing business with the state, JTA reported Sunday.

According to the report, Brown signed Assembly Bill 2844 on Saturday afternoon, days after the California State Assembly voted to send the bill to Brown for approval.

An earlier version of the legislation 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 include reference to other countries as well.

The approved version does not prohibit companies working with the state from boycotting Israel. Rather, companies have to certify that they do not violate California civil rights laws in boycotting a foreign country – including Israel, the only country mentioned by name – according to The Jewish Journal.

“We commend Governor Brown for signing this bill,” said Janna Weinstein Smith, American Jewish Committee’s Los Angeles Regional Director, in a statement quoted by JTA. “The bill sends the clear and unmistakable message that the state of California wants no part of the goals and tactics of the BDS movement. Thanks to this legislation, those who wish to target Jews and Israelis for discrimination will not be doing business with the state of California.”

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.




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