Anti-Israel boycott campaigners
Anti-Israel boycott campaigners Reuters

The State of Illinois has passed a monumental bill against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Monday, mandating that the state divest from any companies who boycott Israel.

According to a description of the bill on the Illinois General Assembly's website, the bill "prohibits a State agency from entering into a contract subject to the Code with a business that boycotts Israel" and "requires each of the 5 State-funded retirement systems (or the Illinois State Board of Investment where applicable) to make its best efforts to identify all companies that boycott Israel in which it has direct or indirect holdings and, under certain circumstances, to divest itself of holdings in those companies."

The Illinois bill is one of the strongest anti-BDS moves in state legislature passed recently, following similar moves by Indiana and Tennessee

The Indiana bill, Resolution 74, declares general opposition to the BDS movement and was passed earlier this month; Tennessee lawmakers approved a similar measure on April 21.

On the national level, the Senate Finance Committee adopted new amendments to the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) aimed at countering BDS in April.

The amendments would require U.S. trade negotiators to make rejection of BDS a principal trade objective in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the European Union.  They were authored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and approved by the Finance Committee with a 20-6 vote.

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