Illinois Governor Signs Unprecedented Anti-BDS Bill Into Law
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law on Thursday a bill to combat the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
The law specifically targets taxpayer-funded public pension funds that invest in any company that has adopted boycott, divestment or sanctions measures against Israel.
Rauner was joined at the signing ceremony by leaders from the Jewish community and other lawmakers who backed the bill, The Washington Free Beacon reported. He said states must stand up to combat antisemitism and anti-Israel advocates in favor of BDS.
The governors office called the law the first state-based concrete action taken against the anti-Israel boycott movement. State legislators in Tennessee, Indiana and New York recently passed resolutions condemning BDS, but those were non-binding.
The bill concerns companies “engaging in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with the State of Israel or companies based in the State of Israel or in territories controlled by the State of Israel.”
The law adds companies that boycott Israel to a list of Iran-restricted companies and Sudan-restricted companies, which must undergo periodic review. That list is sent around to the management at taxpayer-funded public pensions funds.
The Illinois government will also notify companies engaging in activities harmful to Israel that they could face divestment, and if the companies change or drop the Israel boycott, they will be removed from the list.