Anti-BDS Bill Clears Ga. Legislature
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The Israel Project, which supports such measures, said six other states have passed anti-BDS legislation, as opposed to resolutions, including neighboring Florida and South Carolina.
Georgia’s legislation is stronger than some proposals because it includes “Israeli-controlled territories.” But the bill awaiting Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature is weaker than Hill’s original version because the House State Properties Committee deleted the phrase “including all of its subdivisions and instrumentalities.”
Thus, the final legislation applies to state contracts only; Hill’s version would have covered local governments.
“I strongly opposed that change,” the senator said, but he chose to accept the House version rather than let the session end without passing something.
The bill requires any potential state vendor to certify in a contract worth at least $1,000 that it does not boycott Israel or companies that do business with Israel.
Hill emphasized that there is no investigative element: The contractor simply states that it is not a boycotter, with the potential for legal liability if that turns out to be untrue, as with any falsehood in a contract.
A strong backer of Israel because Genesis 12:3 states that those who support Israel will be blessed and those who oppose it will be cursed, Hill said he introduced the bill as a proactive move to cut off any chance for the BDS movement to make inroads into Georgia.
The Israel Project praised the legislation’s passage.
“The U.S.-Israel relationship is based on shared values, and opposing bigotry in all its forms is fundamental to the people of both nations,” said Jacob Millner, TIP’s Midwest regional director and senior policy analyst. “As I have seen over the past several months working on this effort, Georgians don’t want their state supporting the anti-Semitic BDS efforts, and that’s why the legislature voted to prevent this insidious movement from gaining a foothold here.”
Still, the vote in the House was much closer than in the Senate. Hill said the opposition to the bill reflected opposition to Israel and came after some pro-Palestinian speakers criticized the legislation during its House committee hearing.