American support for Israel prevails over attempts to ostracize Jewish state
By Joshua S. Block
May 3, 2016
This week, the Iowa State Legislature became the eighth state to pass critical legislation that rejects hateful anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) hatred, following similar legislation passed in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana and South Carolina. Similar bills are now pending in several other states.
Fueled by virulent anti-Semitism, supporters of such discriminatory tactics are not just attacking the Jewish State, but seeking to undermine the unbreakable bonds that unite America with its closest ally in the Middle East and the region's only liberal, tolerant, open society – Israel.
Through votes in state legislatures, American lawmakers are continuing to deliver a loud and clear message to the anti-Israel agitators: your smear campaign to delegitimize and demonize Israel has backfired. Your attempts to malign Israel with false accusations of repellent human rights violations and obscene blood libels like “organ stealing” have been exposed.
Instead, community reaction in the eight states where discriminatory anti-Israel BDS schemes have so far been defeated has overflowed with support for Israel. Indeed, it has been heartening to observe communities and leaders in states as diverse as Iowa and Florida mobilizing and taking action to embrace Israel’s values and friendship, and ensuring that American tax dollars are not flowing to companies that engage in or otherwise indulge BDS-hate.
Just last month, Florida Governor Rick Scott held a ceremony while signing into law a bill that prohibited the State Board of Administration from investing in companies that unjustly target Israel through boycotts. The sentiments the Governor expressed echoed those heard in the other states that have opposed singling out the Jewish state, noting that the BDS movement is one “fueled by intolerance and anti-Semitism.”
For years, the proponents of this anti-Semitic movement have sought to mainstream anti-Israel discrimination in America, and around the world. Business sectors and college campuses have been specifically targeted as breeding grounds for isolating Israel.
With our partners in communities across the country, The Israel Project is leading the charge in educating decision-makers and informing national media regarding the anti-Semitic core of BDS. We are helping expose the true motive of BDS: to ostracize Israel, delegitimize the Jewish State’s right to exist, and ultimately derail the Middle East peace process.
We are providing evidence and statistics reflecting Israel’s staunch commitment to maintaining the highest levels of ethical standards during wartime situations, showcasing Israel’s selfless dedication to providing humanitarian aid during times of crises worldwide, and highlighting the undeniable benefits of securing and strengthening America’s longtime friendship with the State of Israel.
The first eight states that have had the opportunity to vote have categorically rejected the anti-Israel movement, and instead deepened their embrace of the State of Israel as an economic partner and trusted ally in the Middle East.
These states have demonstrated that there is simply no place for anti-Semitism or anti-Israel bias in their communities, and have also taken steps to expand trade and other mutually beneficial ties with Israel.
We applaud Iowa for showing leadership and moral clarity in standing strongly with Israel and in firm opposition to those who seek to demonize and isolate the only true democracy in the Middle East.
We and our community partners will continue encouraging the outpouring of solidarity and action we have seen in Iowa and other states, and will continue working to protect our allies in the Jewish State from hatred.
Joshua S. Block is President & CEO of The Israel Project.