Illinois passes historic anti-BDS bill, as Congress mulls similar moves

imgresThe Washington Post (May 20) — The Illinois House just joined the state’s senate in unanimously passing a bill that would prevent the state’s pension fund from investing in companies that boycott Israel. The Illinois bill is part of a broad political revulsion over the BDS movement (“Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” – the strategy of economic warfare and delegitimization against Israel).

While BDS has gotten most of its successes with low-hanging fruit like British academic unions and pop singers, the anti-boycott efforts are getting an enthusiastic reception in real governments, on the state and federal level. And that is because the message of the BDS movement – Israel as a uniquely villainous state – is fundamentally rejected by the vast majority of Americans. Indeed, a wave of anti-BDS legislation is sweeping the U.S.

BDS is not like the civil rights protests, as its supporters love to claim, but rather more like the anti-Jewish boycotts so common in Europe in the 20th century, and in the Arab world until this day. The U.S. has long had legislation criminalizing participation in the Arab League boycott of Israel. The U.S. can just as rightly oppose privately propagated boycotts as it could governmentally-sponsored ones.

The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. (Washington Post)

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