New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie has signed a law that prohibits the state’s public worker pension fund from investing in companies that engage in the boycott of Israel and support the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement.
The bipartisan bill had already passed the state’s General Assembly at the end of July, and had unanimously passed the state Senate in May.
The state’s $71 billion pension fund provides coverage for about 800,000 current and retired public employees. Israel and New Jersey annually trade more than $1.3 billion in goods, according to the legislation signed on Tuesday.
“It is important to the economic well-being of New Jersey that persons or entities conducting commercial trade and doing business in the State do not engage in boycotts of a legitimate and viable partner with whom New Jersey can enjoy open trade contracting,” the legislation reads. “Therefore, it is in the best interest of this State that a statutory prohibition be enacted to prohibit the investment of public employee retirement funds in companies boycotting Israel.”
Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, welcomed Christie’s decision on Tuesday.
“State after state, we see our most important ally, the United States, continuing to stand by Israel in the fight against BDS,” Danon said. “Legislative measures like the one signed today brings us closer to victory.”
The signing of the law, Danon added, proves that “this is how you defeat the forces of hate – by boycotting the boycotters.”
New Jersey joins over a dozen US states which have adopted anti-BDS legislation this year.
In early June, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order banning state companies from collaborating with entities that promote BDS.
JTA contributed to this report.