The Illinois State House 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 on May 18, 2015.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has pledged to sign the historic “anti-BDS” bill.

Jewish advocacy group StandWithUs congratulated the move, saying: “We are so proud of our state. Hopefully other states will be equally assertive against the boycott movement against Israel and implement similar legislation.

“The significance of the legislation should not be underestimated as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel is an attempt to isolate, weaken and ultimately destroy the Jewish state,” commented Peggy Shapiro, StandWithUs Midwest Director.

The boycott movement exemplifies anti-Semitism as defined by the U.S. State Department in that it demonizes Israel, holds Israel to a double standard and delegitimizes Israel.

Illinois’ anti-boycott legislation is modeled on 1970s U.S. law which made it illegal for American companies to boycott Israel. That legislation passed during the Arab oil embargo and still stands today. The anti-boycott law applies the same standards to companies divesting from Israel as it does to companies investing in Iran and Sudan.

The bipartisan bill was sponsored in the Senate by Ira Silverstein, Michael Connelly, Darin LaHood, Pamela Althoff, Julie Morrison and the House by Chris Nybo, Matt Murphy, Thomas Cullerton, Tim Bivens, and Kyle McCarter, Sara Feigenholtz, David McSweeney, and Lou Lang.

Anti-BDS legislation is appearing across the nation. On April 21, the Tennessee Legislature became the first state body to pass a bill condemning the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel and express its disapproval of the economic war against Israel.

The U.S. Congress is also taking up an anti-boycott amendments as part of the United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act.

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Erica Terry is Managing Editor at Jspace News. She has reported on domestic and international news, Israeli politics, features and more for Jewish publications in New York, Miami and London.
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