We applaud the New Jersey State Senate, which this week unanimously passed legislation that would prohibit state pension and annuity funds from being invested in companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses.
Now a companion bill has been sent to the lower house, introduced by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Dist. 37).
Examples of the economic ties between New Jersey and Israel are legion — the very busy NJ-Israel Commission dates back to 1988. The financial benefits of the partnership include more than $1.3 billion in trade each year, which does not even begin to take into consideration the binational grants and joint scientific research and incubation projects.
The anti-BDS legislation not only underscores the NJ-Israel relationship and the commitment of the state to Israel’s well-being, but it is also an expression of our state’s firm rejection of the forces of hatred and discrimination. While many followers of the BDS campaign may be sympathetic to the humanitarian plight of the Palestinians — and the bill clarifies that aid to Palestinians in need will not be blocked — the movement ultimately rests on opposition to Israel’s right to exist — its founder, Omar Barghouti, has been quoted as saying that the movement’s leaders oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine and refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
In praising the Senate’s bipartisan support of the bill, Leslie Dannin Rosenthal, president of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, said, “Israel today faces an intensive and increasingly sophisticated global assault on its right to exist as a sovereign, democratic, and Jewish state.” The BDS “campaign of delegitimization,” she said, “aims to brand Israel as a pariah nation and isolate it from the international community.”
Federation executive vice president/CEO Dov Ben-Shimon said the bill is a sign of “deep commitment to Israel. I’m proud that our federation has played a strong role in advocating for this legislation, and I look forward to even greater collaboration with our partners to strengthen the New Jersey-Israel relationship.”
We join in these expressions of pride and support and urge the Assembly to swiftly take steps to have New Jersey join the more than 20 other states that have passed similar legislation.