TIP In the News

TIP Senior Policy Advisor Quoted on Pennsylvania BDS Legislation

- October 26, 2016

Anti-BDS Legislation Passes Pennsylvania Senate and House

Read the full article at: http://jewishexponent.com/2016/10/26/anti-bds-legislation-passes-pennsylvania-senate-and-house/

An anti-BDS bill has passed the Pennsylvania Serante by a 47 to 1 vote.


Less than a month after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, the Pennsylvania Senate has passed a similar bill by a vote of 47 to 1. After an affirmative concurrence vote in the House, Pennsylvania HB 2107 is now on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk for his signature.


Should the bill be enacted, Pennsylvania would become the 14th state to pass anti-BDS legislation.


The prime sponsor of the bill is state Rep. Matthew E. Baker, a Republican serving Tioga County and parts of Bradford and Potter counties.


The bill — which also addresses questions regarding public access to procurement records and awarding a contract to a single source — contains anti-BDS language within the context of prohibited contracts.


The bill asserts that “Israel is America’s dependable, democratic ally in the Middle East, an area of paramount strategic importance to the United States” and that “it is in the interest of the United States and the Commonwealth to stand with Israel and other countries by promoting trade and commercial activities and to discourage policies that disregard that interest.”


For that reason, a company contracted by the Commonwealth is not permitted to be involved in a boycott—defined in the bill as “to blacklist, divest from or otherwise refuse to deal with a person or firm when the action is based on race, color, religion, gender or national affiliation or origin of the targeted person or entity.”


Jacob Millner, of the Israel Project — a national nonpartisan educational organization that has been instrumental in pursuing anti-BDS legislation across the country — said he was pleased about the passage of the bill.


“I feel good about it. I’m pretty confident, though I don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch. But Pennsylvania has a lot of organization who have done a lot of good work on making this happen.”


Millner says the Pennsylvania bill is noteworthy because “it’s important that states make a statement on the right side of history, that they won’t invest their money or spend state money on companies that would engage in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic [activities].”


Millner called BDS “a form of economic warfare against the only Jewish state,” and added, “the state wouldn’t condone a company that would discriminate against African-Americans, women or gays and lesbians, and discrimination based on national origin is similar. The state has to take a stand on that.”


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