North Carolina 22nd state to pass anti-BDS legislation promoted by Israel lobby groups

North Carolina 22nd state to pass anti-BDS legislation promoted by Israel lobby groups

Still taken from JBSTV news report June 29, 2017.

By Alison Weir

The pro-Israel campaign in state legislatures against boycotting Israel just scored another victory in North Carolina. Last month corresponding bills were passed in Nevada, Ohio, and Kansas.

Similar laws are also being passed in U.S. cities and at the federal level.

Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives voted 96 to 19 and state Senators voted 45 to 3 for legislation that prevents state institutions from doing business with companies that boycott Israeli companies and/or products made in Israel.

The original sponsors of the bill were Senators Tommy Tucker, Rick Gunn and Andrew Brock, and Representatives. John Szoka, Stephen Ross and Jon Hardister.

Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper reported: “Representatives from the various Jewish Federations across North Carolina praised the passage of the legislation.”

“This bill makes it clear that the State of North Carolina stands with Israel, which has long been an important trading partner of North Carolina,” said Carin Savel, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary. [The Federation’s mission includes helping “to meet the shared obligations of our local community to Israel and international Jewry.”]

“Charlotte Jewish Federation executive director Susan J. Worrel said the bill “will solidify the relationship between North Carolina and Israel, who share important values and a mutually beneficial business relationship.”

“Jill Madsen, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill, said the bill “is an important step in the right direction.”

She added, “It prevents companies which boycott Israel based on national origin from doing business with the state of North Carolina.”

Marilyn Forman Chandler, executive director of the Greensboro Jewish Federation, said, “This sends a significant message against hatred and discrimination and will outlaw and condemn discrimination against Israel and Israelis. We look forward to Governor Roy Cooper’s signature, making North Carolina the 22nd state to take such action.”

Some of the other groups promoting the legislation are The Israel Project, a national pro-Israel organization; United for Israel, an international organization; and the American Jewish Committee, which created a letter opposing BDS that all 50 US governors signed. The AJC called it “a big win for Jewish advocacy and Israel.” Some groups label the BDS movement “antisemitic.”

The North Carolina bills are Senate Bill 329 and House Bill 161 –  short title: “Divestment from Companies That Boycott Israel,” full title:  “An Act Requiring State Divestment from, and Prohibiting State 3 Agencies from Contracting with, Companies that Boycott Israel.

JTA reports that this is at least the 22nd state with anti-BDS laws or executive orders. Previous states include Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Jewish community representatives join Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf as he signs anti-boycott legislation. ​Photo from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel