Mississippi approves anti-BDS bill

Mississippi House of Representatives passes bill that would prevent the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.

Ben Ariel ,

BDS activists
BDS activists

The Mississippi House of Representatives has passed a bill that would prevent the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel, JTA reported on Tuesday.

Following the 88-10 last week in the lower house of the state Legislature, the measure moves to the Senate.

The legislation prevents the state retirement system, treasury and any state government entity from investing in a company that boycotts Israel. The bill calls on the state to develop the list of boycotting companies.

Existing investments as of July 1, 2020, would have to be sold within 120 days after the list is published, though exceptions can be made for investments the state determines are necessary.

With the move, Mississippi joins at least 27 states to have approved legislation against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

States that have approved anti-BDS legislation include: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Some of these laws have been challenged in courts. Last month, a federal US judge let stand the Arkansas law, which requires state contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel.

Last year, a federal judge temporarily blocked the anti-BDS law in Kansas following a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Anti-BDS legislation has also been challenged in Texas, where a speech pathologist sued the local public school district in December, after she was let go for refusing to sign an agreement that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel,