Israeli advocacy group StandWithUs lauded the Iowa State Senate for overwhelmingly (38-9) passing anti-boycott/anti-discrimination legislation (SF2281/HF2331).

“It is a tremendous milestone for the relationship between the state of Iowa and the nation of Israel,” the group said.

The bill prohibits the State from investing in companies that engage in “economic warfare that threatens the sovereignty and security of allies and trade partners of the United States, including the state of Israel.”

From StandWithUs: “We commend Linda Upmeyer, Speaker of the Iowa House, for introducing the legislation and seeing it through its successful House passage. We are also grateful to Senator Jeff Danielson, Chairman Iowa Senate State Government, and the many legislative leaders who honored our relationship with the Jewish people by sponsoring and voting for SF2281.”

Peggy Shapiro, Central Region Director of StandWithUs — which has long been involved in educating key leaders about the issues relating to anti-boycott legislation, added, “This bill ensures the State of Iowa will not support those that participate in campaigns fueled by intolerance and anti-Semitism — like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The passing of this new law sends a clear message against the bigotry and discrimination of the BDS movement. We welcome the fact that Iowa is joining Illinois, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona and almost 20 states which have either passed or introduced similar legislation which rejects the boycott campaign.”

Shapiro maintains the legislation is the result of many community organizations providing grassroots support and credits The Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) for its leadership on the issue.

IAF Deputy Director Joseph Sabag stated, “Iowa’s new anti-discrimination/boycott law is good as a matter of economic policy, public policy and foreign policy. This is a great accomplishment for the pro-Israel community, and a resounding defeat for the BDS Movement.” Sabag, who is a legal resource for many state legislators on anti-boycott bills, is clear that this law does not infringe on the 1st Amendment right to free speech. “This law does not say a group cannot boycott Israel or advocate for boycotting Israel. It does not penalize any private party’s exercise of free speech. What this law does say is that the legislature controls taxpayer money, and it decides where to invest it and where to spend it. Iowa is exercising its financial discretion to support public policy and the basic ethical standards of government.

The legislators on both sides of the aisle have voted to defend the State of Iowa against the bigotry and discrimination of the BDS Movement and the economic harm it causes. We look forward to Governor Terry Branstad signing the bill into law.