North Carolina lawmakers approve anti-BDS bill

If the state's governor endorses the bill, North Carolina would become the 22nd US state with a law imposing punitive measures on companies and entities involved in the anti-Israel movement.

June 29, 2017 14:04
2 minute read.
bds boycott

Activists from the BDS movement against Israel [File]. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Lawmakers from both chambers of North Carolina’s legislature passed a bill on Wednesday that will punish companies that do business with the state if they participate in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign targeting Israel.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Roy Cooper. Once the governor endorses the legislation, North Carolina will become the 22nd US state with a law imposing punitive measures on companies and entities involved in BDS.

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North Carolina House Bill 261 would sanction “entities that... make discriminatory decisions on the basis of national origin... ” The bill states that “the public policy of the United States, as enshrined in several federal acts, [is] to oppose boycotts against Israel, and Congress has concluded as a matter of national trade policy that cooperation with Israel materially benefits United States companies and improves American competitiveness; and Israel in particular is known for its dynamic and innovative approach in many business sectors, and, therefore, a company’s decision to discriminate against Israel, Israeli entities, or entities that do business with or in Israel is an unsound business practice.”

The North Carolina Jewish Federations said in a statement: “The State of North Carolina has long been a trading partner with Israel, and thanks to this legislation, that connection will not be hindered.

North Carolina businesses conduct nearly $140 million per year in exports and commerce with Israel.”

The bill garnered bipartisan support and was sponsored by Sens. Tommy Tucker, Rick Gunn and Andrew Brock, and Reps. John Szoka, Stephen Ross and Jon Hardister. Representatives from the various Jewish Federations across North Carolina praised the passage of the legislation.

“This bill makes it clear that the State of North Carolina stands with Israel, which has long been an important trading partner of North Carolina,” said Carin Savel, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary.

Charlotte Jewish Federation executive director Susan J.

Worrel said the bill “will solidify the relationship between North Carolina and Israel, who share important values and a mutually beneficial business relationship.”

Jill Madsen, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill, said the bill “is an important step in the right direction.”

She added, “It prevents companies which boycott Israel based on national origin from doing business with the state of North Carolina.”

Marilyn Forman Chandler, executive director of the Greensboro Jewish Federation, said, “This sends a significant message against hatred and discrimination and will outlaw and condemn discrimination against Israel and Israelis. We look forward to Governor Roy Cooper’s signature, making North Carolina the 22nd state to take such action.”

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