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May 14, 2015 10:16 am

Anti-BDS Bill Advances in Illinois State Legislature

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Illinois State on Wednesday unanimously voted 10-0 to pass anti-BDS bill. Photo: Mohamed Ouda via Wikimedia Commons. – The Illinois State House of Representatives Executive Committee on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill that would prohibit state pension funds from including companies that participate in their portfolios in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The 10-0 committee vote follows the 49-0 passage of the measure in the Illinois State Senate and precedes a vote among the full Illinois House, after which point the bill would go to the desk of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner for a signature into law.

B’nai B’rith International said in a statement that it “applauds Illinois citizens and their representatives for taking such a strong stance against a movement rooted in antisemitism that ultimately impedes the peace process by opposing constructive dialogue between Israel and Palestinians.”

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State legislatures in Indiana and Tennessee last month passed resolutions condemning the BDS movement, but those measures were non-binding, as opposed to the Illinois legislation’s concrete economic action against BDS. According to B’nai B’rith, the Illinois bill’s proposed removal of BDS-participating companies from state pension portfolios “is based on existing legislation that the Illinois Investment Policy Board currently enforces, mandating that state pension funds be divested from foreign firms doing business in Iran, Sudan or other countries with known human rights violations.”

The Christian Zionist organization Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), which initiated the anti-BDS resolution in Tennessee, has released a list of 17 U.S. states that are considering or have already passed legislation that opposes BDS.

“I am calling on Christians, Jews, and people of conscience in the remaining 33 states to add their voices to this groundbreaking initiative by contacting and launching this initiative in their states. It’s time to confront these people (BDS proponents) and call them what they are—anti-Semites!” PJTN founder Laurie Cardoza-Moore said in a statement.

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  • I will need to talk with people in B’nai B’rith to understand better how they distinguish opposition to Israel’s policies of encroaching on Palestinian lands, on the one hand, from anti-Semites, which I take to mean” hatred of Jews. I don’t think they are necessarily the same thing. Pulling out the “anti-Semite” card when someone condemns Israeli policies contributes to the loss B’nai B’rith’s integrity and effectiveness. This is regrettable, because they- and all of us- have a great deal of work to do to gain human rights for all of us.