Ohio senate approves anti-BDS bill

Ohio Senate approves bill targeting the BDS movement. It will now go to the governor for approval.

Ben Ariel ,

BDS protest
BDS protest

The Ohio Senate on Thursday approved a bill targeting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the Cleveland Jewish News reports.

The bill was approved by a 26-5 vote, two weeks after the Ohio House of Representatives approved the legislation.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich must now sign or veto the bill.

The bill prohibits a state agency from contracting with a company that is boycotting or disinvesting from Israel and requires companies to explicitly state in contracts declaring they are not boycotting or disinvesting from Israel, an agreement that would last throughout the duration of the contract.

Similar measures have been approved in several other American states already, including New York, California, New Jersey, Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Tennessee, Nevada and Virginia.

StandWithUs commended the Ohio legislature for passing the bill on Thursday.

Austin Reid, StandWithUs Emerson Fellow and student at Capital University, testified at the Senate hearing, representing students who often are the first to feel the brunt of anti-Israel activity.

“In addition to sending a message across the State of Ohio that Ohioans will not participate in economic warfare against Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East, House Bill 476 will work to protect the meaningful ties which already exist between Ohioan and Israeli businesses,” said Reid.

“These connections can be seen across the state from Cincinnati, where Teva Pharmaceuticals currently hosts a large production center and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which works extensively with Israeli medical institutions, to Cleveland, where the Cleveland Clinic just increased its cooperation with Israeli doctors. In addition, both Akron and Dayton are working extensively with Israeli institutions, particularly in the area of water technologies. Finally, Ohio’s relationship to Israel extends beyond the cities into rural areas as well through the efforts of the Ohio Israel Agricultural Initiative,” he added.