BDS graffiti sign (illustration)
BDS graffiti sign (illustration)Photo: Miriam Alster / Flash 90

Virginia became the seventh American state to come out against the BDS movement this past week. The two houses of its state legislature separately passed identical anti-BDS resolutions, officially condemning and outlawed the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The resolution states that it “condemn[s] the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and its activities in Virginia, as its agenda is inherently antithetical and deeply damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.”

The first state to pass such a resolution was Tennessee, in April 2015, and it was followed by Alabama, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida.

The Virginian resolution says that the BDS movement is “one of the main vehicles advocating for policies leading to the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and has sought to hijack social, political, religious, academic, cultural, and economic platforms to discriminatorily isolate Israel within the international community.”

The lower house vote was 86-5 in favor, with 9 abstentions, while it passed in the Senate by voice vote.

Pro-Israel groups were quick to congratulate Virginia. Darcy Hirsh of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, which campaigned in favor of the resolution, said the vote is a "strong statement that BDS is discriminatory and counterproductive and has no place in the commonwealth."

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder and president of  Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN), another organization that has strongly advocated for anti-BDS state resolutions throughout the United States, declared, "We will not stop until every single U.S. state comes out publicly condemning the anti-Semitic BDS movement.  We call upon Christians, Jews and people of conscience across America to join us in pushing for similar resolutions in their home states."

The city of Paris has passed anti-BDS resolutions, as did parliamentarians from 13 Latin American and Caribbean nations last week. The first university student government to pass an anti-BDS resolution was that of Western Washington University, back in June 2014.