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The New York Senate is weighing legislation that would restrict the government from contracting with individuals or companies that are boycotting Israel.

The stated purpose of Senate Bill S706, sponsored by State Senator Anna Kaplan and co-sponsored by State Senator Todd Kaminsky, is to “prohibit New York State from contracting with corporations that are boycotting Israel."

“As the only Jewish religious refugee in the New York State legislature, I consider it my solemn duty to speak out in support of Israel, and to stand up against the antisemitic BDS movement that targets the world's only Jewish state to the exclusion of all others,” Kaplan wrote on Facebook. “I’m proud to have introduced anti-BDS legislation in the New York State Senate to ensure that our government isn't contracting with corporations that boycott Israel.”

Kaplan described the bill as a “critical measure that will re-affirm New York's strong support for Israel, and I will fight hard to get it done.”

The legislation would implement new purchasing restrictions on “persons boycotting Israel and the investment of certain public funds in companies boycotting Israel” and would also require “the commissioner of general services to compile a list of companies boycotting Israel” in order to establish “that such companies will be considered non-responsive bidders.”

It would amend New York’s state finance law to include a new section that “defines boycott Israel, boycott activities, and persons” while also outlining the process that the commissioner would use to create a list of “persons not deemed to be a responsive bidder or offerer.” The list would be used to divest from individuals or companies that are boycotting Israel during the procurement process for state agency contracts.

“Boycott Divest and Sanction, (BDS) is an orchestrated movement designed to weaken and delegitimize Israel through economic isolation, which will cause great harm to one of our nation's strongest allies,” the bill said. “Israel, being the fourth largest recipient of New York State's exports (at $6.4 million), has proven both a strategic and economic ally. It undermines our national security to assist Israel's enemies.”

Noting that South Carolina, followed by eighteen other states, have passed legislation to counter the BDS movement, the bill said that "passing this legislation is an important way for New York to show support to our ally.”

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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