Missouri lawmakers approve anti-BDS bill

Missouri bill would require companies to sign a contract pledging not to boycott Israel in order to do business with Missouri.

Elad Benari ,

BDS activists
BDS activists
iStock

Lawmakers in Missouri on Thursday passed a bill to ban the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel, The Associated Press reports.

The GOP-led House approved the measure by a majority of 95-40.

The legislation is in response to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which promotes a boycott of Israeli institutions and businesses.

The Missouri bill would require companies to sign a contract pledging not to boycott Israel in order to do business with Missouri. It wouldn't apply to contracts worth less than $100,000 or companies with fewer than 10 employees, noted AP.

Republican Rep. Holly Rehder led the Senate bill through the House. She said doing anything to support the boycott movement goes against Missouri's economic policies and would be “absurd.”

“The legislature has taken bold action to combat the insidious and hateful BDS movement that singles out Israel and encourages punitive actions against its economy and citizens, said Nancy Lisker, director of the American Jewish Committee St. Louis Region.

Missouri joins a host of states that have passed legislation against BDS in recent years. These include: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Arizona announced last year that it would ease its rules to a state ban on doing business with companies that boycott Israel in an attempt to avoid potential lawsuits.

Texas also amended its anti-BDS law, which bans business with Israel boycotters, after the application of the law was vexed by embarrassing incidents and at least one lawsuit.



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