The American Jewish Committee (AJC), a Jewish advocacy group based in New York City, applauded the decision of the Missouri General Assembly, representing the State Senate and House of Representatives, on its bipartisan passage of SB 739, or the "Anti-Discrimination Against Israel Act," in a press release on Thursday.
The new bill will prohibit Missouri and its associate subdivisions from forming contracts worth over $100,000 with companies that employ more than 10 employees and engage in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The stated nature of the bill follows the State of Missouri's public policy against discrimination in business partnerships with private companies.
As noted in the press statement, the bill is not designed to penalize or infringe on individual rights to freedom of expression or companies that wish to pursue a boycott. Similarly, the statement also references US federal law with regards to the government's rejection of boycott's against American strategic allies.
Missouri follows other states that have sought to crackdown of BDS activities, whether on US campuses or elsewhere, including Alabama, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.
Missouri will be the 29th state to pass anti-BDS bills or enforce orders.
“The legislature has taken bold action to combat the insidious and hateful BDS movement that singles out Israel and encourages punitive actions against its economy and citizens. We look forward to Gov. Parson signing this important bill into law,” said Nancy Lisker, director of AJC St. Louis Region.
“Israelis and Palestinians want peace, they want investment not divestment, and they want for the whole region to prosper. Through this legislation both economies, Missouri’s and Israel’s, will continue to grow,” Lisker added.
“Thanks to the strong partnership between AJC and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Christians United for Israel, and countless individuals who have volunteered their time to advocate tirelessly against BDS in Missouri over the last three years, our state achieved this landmark bill, ” she noted, highlighting the united effort between different organizations.