Friday, June 5, 2020 -
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Agenda item for Colorado Legislature — Follow Illinois: Outlaw BDS

Illinois barred state pension funds from including ?companies that boycott Israel. Memo to Colorado: ?Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

“We anticipate that this legislation will become a model for similar action in many other states,” said Chicago Jewish United Fund President Steven Nasatir, upon the passage of timely pro-Israel legislation by the Illinois legislature May 18.

A bill passed the state’s House of Representatives unanimously — 102-0. The bill had earlier passed the state Senate 49-0. It is anticipated that Gov. Bruce Rauner will sign it.

The bill bans Illinois’ pension fund from doing business with companies that boycott, divest from or sanction Israel.

Wow! What a strong message that should resound in state legislatures around the country — not to mention, in European Union countries, especially the United Kingdom.

It’s become open-season on Israel. Blessed be the Illinois state legislature for taking the lead in fighting back.

Colorado should follow suit. No doubt, Illinois Jewish leaders were instrumental in advocating the Illinois legislation. The same will be necessary in Colorado. It’s a beautiful opportunity for the JCRC and any and all other friends of Israel who are conversant with the political process or friendly with their state representatives.

Rarely have we seen a pro-Israel act that is more than symbolic, although the symbolic importance of the Illinois legislation is not to be underestimated. It forces the reflexive, anti-Israel, often anti-Semitic, uninformed advocates of BDS to rethink. To look at the facts. It is no small thing for an American legislative body to take concrete action for Israel — unanimously, no less.

According to JTA, the Illinois bill requires the state’s pension system to remove companies that boycott Israel from their portfolios. The measure is an amendment to existing legislation enforced by the Illinois Investment Police Board mandating that state pension funds be divested from foreign firms doing business in Iran, Sudan or other countries with known human rights violations.

We anticipate an obtuse outcry by BDS advocates against the “unfairness” of boycott of BDS. Perhaps when — we hope — the shoe is on the other foot, the anti-Israel crowd will check out the facts:

• Israel employs Palestinians;

• Israel provides medical care to Palestinians;

• Israel provides water to the Palestinian territories;

• Israel sends humanitarian aid to Gaza — not to mention, Israeli leaders focus on building their own society, not on tearing down the society of their neighbors.

Israel has neither policy nor plan to fire rockets indiscriminately on Palestinian population centers or to dig terror tunnels underneath their villages, still less to wipe the Palestinians off the map. These are the facts that moved Illinois’ legislature to act.

These realities have been hijacked by the BDS crowd. Kudos to Illinois for beginning to turn it around. Let Colorado and the rest of the states in the union follow.

“All politics is local.” BDS is local. So are state legislatures. They can make a big difference. Let Illinois be the first of many.

Copyright © 2015 by the Intermountain Jewish News


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