State Senate approves anti-BDS bills
The State Association of Jewish Federations is applauding unanimous votes by the NJ State Senate on two bills that would impede the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement aimed against Israel.
One, introduced by Sen. James Beach (D-Dist. 6) and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Dist. 37), requires state pension funds to divest from companies involved in boycotting Israeli businesses and products.
The second, sponsored by Sen. Peter Barnes (D-Dist. 18), condemns “activities that contribute directly or indirectly to the denial, violation, or delegitimation of any person’s academic freedom, including, but not limited to, promotion of academic boycotts against Israel by the BDS movement.”
But the bill does not prohibit “activities of any company providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people through either a governmental or nongovernmental organization.”
Both bills passed on Aug. 13.
“The State Senate’s vote today is a strong expression of how much New Jersey values its long and close relationship with Israel and, especially, their existing and robust economic partnership,” said Mark Levenson, president of the State Association and a partner at the Newark law firm Sills Cummis & Gross.
“The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ applauds the NJ State Senate for passing important legislation against the BDS movement, which seeks to undermine Israel’s right to exist as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people,” said Melanie Roth Gorelick, director of the federation’s Community Relations Committee. “Those seeking to promote this ideology of imposing punitive economic measures against Israel would be far more constructive in peacemaking by seeking to create an environment of cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.
“We are proud that our elected leaders recognize this,” said Gorelick, “and will no longer permit companies that support this misguided and hateful campaign to do business in New Jersey.”
The State Assembly is expected to take up identical BDS measures after the November elections.