Author - Publishing

Let’s Work Together to Stamp out Hatred

Published: Current in Carmel, April 4, 2017

Editor, As a vice president of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana, the only statewide Israel and Jewish advocacy group, I heartily embrace the Indianapolis Muslim community’s letter (in the March 21 edition of Current in Carmel) in support of the local Jewish community and against acts such as the recent bomb threat at our local Jewish Community Center. May I suggest that the Muslim community commence their stand against Jew hatred by focusing on their own back yard. I write this in light of a recent Anti-Defamation League global survey that found the top 10 most anti-Semitic nations to be Muslim ones. I write this knowing that the first individual charged in the wave of bomb threats to Jewish centers in the U.S. was a self-identified Muslim. I write this knowing that the Islamic Society of North America, headquartered in Plainfield and a signatoree on the letter, was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group dedicated to the annihilation of all Jews. I write this knowing that ISNA as well as at least one other mosque that signed the letter invited anti-Semites to speak to their organizations. My group looks forward to working with the Muslim community to stamp out Jew hatred wherever it may be found. Allon Friedman, Carmel

Alon Friedman, Vice President Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana

 

 

In repsonse to the following:

 

Published:  Current in Carmel, March 21, 2017

Editor, On behalf of the Muslim community in Indianapolis, represented by the mosques and Muslim organizations listed below, we would like to extend our solidarity with the Jewish community. We are deeply saddened and troubled to hear about the recent acts of hate, intolerance and vandalism against the Jewish people in America, including the recent bomb threat at the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis. We are certain that such actions can cause people to feel afraid and concerned for their safety. It is very disheartening to hear about these senseless and hateful acts. Without our Jewish friends, we would lose, among other things, so much compassion and kindness found here in Indiana. But please know that the Indianapolis Muslim community, a people of faith and moral conscience, is your ally. We will stand alongside you to uphold the values of justice and compassion. Our homes, our mosques and our hearts are open to you. Please let us know how we can help your community during this time of difficulty. We pray for the security of the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by these events. May God fill your hearts with peace. Amen.

Indianapolis Muslim Community Association Al-Fajr Mosque, Islamic Society of North America, Al Salam Foundation, AsSahabah Mosque, Al-Mu’mineen Mosque, RISE Indy, Masjid Al-Taqwa, Masjid-E-Noor, Nur-Allah Islamic Center, Al-Haqq Foundation, Al Hikma Islamic Center

 

 

Mike Pence, Guardian of Jewish freedom

Donald Trump’s VP pick has legislated against BDS and against government control of religious practice

August 18, 2016, 3:10 pm

Originally posted at Times of Israel, August 18, 2016.<

JTA — With the presidential race heating up, a number of progressive Jewish commentators have portrayed the Republicans’ vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, as a conservative extremist opposed to Jewish beliefs and values. As officers of the only statewide, grassroots Jewish and Israel advocacy organization in Indiana — who also have had the privilege of working closely with Pence and other Indiana legislators of both political parties to pass important pro-Jewish, pro-Israel legislation — we dispute this inaccurate portrayal.

In fact, there is strong reason to believe that such opposition to Pence is much less a reflection of his positions than an indication of how far many Jewish Americans have strayed over recent years from core Jewish beliefs.

Take for example Pence’s demonstrable attachment to the Jewish state of Israel, which he has called “America’s most cherished ally.” In sharp contrast to many of his critics, Pence is a vocal supporter of Israel’s right to defend itself against sworn enemies like Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. While some of Pence’s opponents support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which opposes the existence of a Jewish state in any form, he recently signed into Indiana law what Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, called “the toughest anti-BDS legislation in the nation.”

Why don’t Pence’s undeniably pro-Israel positions help win over his Jewish critics?

Douglas Bloomfield in a recent anti-Pence piece argued that “for most Jewish voters, support for Israel is not a determinative issue but is often around fourth of fifth on their priority list.” Bloomfield is correct when he observes that for far too many American Jews, the security of Israel is of little importance. Pence’s support for Israel doesn’t resonate because much of American Jewry has chosen to distance itself from the Jewish state.

Another example involves social issues related to marriage and family. As it turns out, Pence’s positions on these issues are largely in accord with traditional Jewish beliefs.

An important aspect of traditional Judaism involves discriminating or distinguishing between one thing and others. Of course, the type of discrimination we are referring to is not like the historical prejudice of whites toward blacks. But Judaism involves discrimination nonetheless.

Kodesh, the Hebrew word for holy, implies separating or making something distinct. For practicing Jews this concept applies to dietary practices, clothing, family and marital relations, and keeping the Sabbath. Making distinctions also requires making value judgments. Pence’s religious perspective, which shapes his positions on marriage and family, is also dependent on making distinctions. This type of thinking is disdained by liberal Jews, who have redefined Judaism as rejecting distinctions within the Jewish tradition and in their relations to non-Jews.

Another example involves religious liberty, a concept that has allowed American Jews historically unprecedented space and freedom to pursue their lives as Jews. Pence’s statesmanship has been grounded in the American constitutional tradition of individual rights and limited government, which are required for religious liberty to flourish.

Pence’s opponents, however, are opposed to these classic liberal ideals and support the use of government power to compel people to abandon their religious convictions in the public square. For traditional Jews this in effect means being forced to adhere to whatever happens to be the prevailing social norms. This type of behavior is akin to classical anti-Semitism, which demanded that Jews abandon their discriminating religious beliefs.

This issue arose with Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, which Pence signed into law in 2015. Though Indiana’s RFRA is one of 21 state RFRA laws, Democrats have built an entire campaign against Pence by claiming that his RFRA was designed to deny LGBT civil liberties. At the 2016 Democratic convention, Nevada State Sen. Pat Spearman claimed that Pence “used religion as a weapon to discriminate.” U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts argued that Trump “picked a vice president famous for trying to make it legal to openly discriminate against gays and lesbians.” Hillary Clinton’s campaign characterized Pence as the “most extreme VP pick in a generation,” claiming that “Pence personally spearheaded an anti-LGBT law that legalized discrimination against the LGBT community.”

These claims have been echoed by some Jews. Rabbi Dennis Sasso, whose Indianapolis congregation is affiliated with the Conservative and Reconstructionist movements, asserted that Pence’s failure as governor is most evident in his support of RFRA, since it “allows a private business the right to restrict or limit services to LGBTQ persons on religious grounds.” The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council testified before the state legislature that if RFRA were adopted, “people could use their religion to justify almost any discriminatory action they choose to take in their public lives.” In his article, Bloomfield wrote that Indiana’s RFRA law permits “Indiana businesses (to) refuse to serve gays, lesbians and others by citing religious objections.”

In reality RFRA is nothing like what its critics claim. Indiana University law professor David Orentlicher observed that it was “designed to protect religious practice from discrimination by government.” Orentlicher, a Democrat, is himself a former Indiana state representative and currently a candidate for Congress. Law professor Douglas Laycock, who helped write the federal RFRA law, notes that religious freedom laws are mostly used for a wide range of reasons including “churches feeding the homeless” and “Muslim women wearing scarves or veils.”

“They’re about Amish buggies. They’re about Sabbath observers,” he said.

RFRA neither intends to nor enables the wholesale denial of LGBT rights and does nothing to permit or promote discrimination against LGBT individuals as individuals in the marketplace. In fact, its critics are using it as a smokescreen to conceal their own wholesale rejection of fundamental constitutional and religious principles, including religious liberty. The real, underlying issue that prompted such fury against Pence is that the RFRA may, depending on how the courts rule, permit individuals and businesses to adhere to their religious beliefs on how to define marriage. Supporters of RFRA believe in the classic liberal idea that government should not compel citizens to abandon the free exercise of their religious beliefs in the public square.

It is ironic that an evangelical Christian politician who has demonstrated tenacious support for the Jewish state of Israel, who advocates aggressively for religious liberty, and who supports the practice of traditional Jewish values has been so demonized by individuals and groups claiming to represent Judaism. As American Jewry drifts further from its traditional religious moorings, we should expect to see more of such rhetoric.

Elliot Bartky, Ph.D., and Allon Friedman, M.D., are the president and vice president, respectively, of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana. Bartkey is associate professor of political science at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne. Friedman is associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Don’t Believe the Hype: Indiana Jews Revere Mike Pence

Origianlly published at Haaretz August, 8, 2016.

Time and time again, Donald Trump’s running mate proved himself to be an honorable statesman devoted to the U.S. Constitution and a true friend to Jews in Indiana and around the world.

In a recent opinion published in Haaretz, Rabbi Dennis Sasso repeated previous partisan attacks on Republican vice-presidential candidate and Indiana Governor Mike Pence, painting him as a conservative extremist opposed to American ideals and Jewish ethics. As officers of the only statewide, grassroots Jewish and Israel advocacy organization in Indiana who have also had the privilege of working closely with Pence and other Indiana legislators of both political parties to pass groundbreaking pro-Jewish, pro-Israel legislation, we dispute this inaccurate and partisan portrayal.

Mike Pence has a strong and unshakeable attachment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel, which he has called “America’s most cherished ally.” In sharp contrast to many of his critics, Pence is a vocal supporter of Israel’s right to defend itself against threats from Iran and Hamas. Similarly, while many of his opponents support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, Pence recently signed into lawwhat Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer called “the toughest anti-BDS legislation in the nation.”

Pence’s statesmanship has always been grounded in the American constitutional tradition of individual rights and limited government and a religious belief recognizing divine providence and the love of fellow humans. The baseless, ugly attacks on Pence represent in large part a broader unease with his religious convictions and advocacy of civil liberty.

Pence’s biggest failure, according to some of his detractors, was his signing into law Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which Sasso characterizes as allowing “a private business the right to restrict or limit services to LGBTQ persons on religious grounds.” Indeed, the law’s passage led to the outright vilification of Pence and a public relations campaign against Indiana by activists far and wide. 

The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) took a lead role in this defamation campaign despite Jewish community surveys, such as the JCRC’s most recent local survey, showing that only 16% of the local community considered gay rights to be a high priority. Moreover, the JCRC testified before the state legislature that if RFRA were adopted “people could use their religion to justify almost any discriminatory action they choose to take in their public lives.” This testimony contradicts Indiana University law professor and former Democratic State Representative David Orentlicher’s recognition of the “serious misperceptions of what a RFRA actually can do,” stating that in fact “RFRAs have posed little, if any, threat to the public.” Significantly, Orentlicher recognized that Indiana’s RFRA was “designed to protect religious practice from discrimination by government.

The arguments promoted by Sasso and the JCRC grossly misrepresent RFRA. The law neither intends to, nor enables, the wholesale denial of LGBT rights. Legal scholar Douglas Laycock helped write the federal RFRA legislation that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. He notes that state religious freedom laws are mostly used for a wide range of reasons including “churches feeding the homeless … Muslim women wearing scarves or veils. They’re about Amish buggies. They’re about Sabbath observers.”

The real underlying issue that inspired so much opposition to Pence was that RFRA could, if supported by the courts, allow individuals and businesses to adhere to their religious beliefs on the sanctity of marriage. Instead of openly declaring their position that same-sex marriage must be accepted regardless of one’s religious convictions, anti-RFRA activists avoided an honest debate and instead maligned Pence’s character with spurious accusations.

RFRA’s supporters, on the other hand, believed in the classic liberal notion that government should not compel citizens to abandon the free exercise of their religious beliefs in the public square. As such, RFRA in fact promoted both constitutional rights and traditional religious beliefs. This is precisely why constitutional scholar Daniel Conkle, a supporter of marriage equality, provided the key testimony supporting the legality of Indiana’s RFRA. 

While individuals have the right to argue for the idea of marriage equality, trying to force citizens as RFRA’s opponents did to give up the free exercise of their religious beliefs in the public square is a shameful abandonment of fundamental rights guaranteed to every American. 

There is a similar logic behind other attacks against Pence. For example, rather than acknowledge that some Syrian immigrants could pose a very real threat (as demonstrated now on a daily basis in Europe) to America in light of their anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, and anti-Western upbringing, Pence is demonized for refusing to allow such immigration at this time. Pence’s position is ethical and responsible as it seeks to protect American lives and liberties. This is plainly evident to all but those detractors who place a greater value on abstract universal rights than on the welfare of Jewish and non-Jewish Americans.

It is time that everyone understands the truth about Governor Mike Pence. He is a good and compassionate man. He is an honorable statesman devoted to the U.S. Constitution and its tenets of individual freedom, and he is a true friend to Jews in Indiana and around the world.

Elliot Bartky, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Political Science at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne and President of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana. 

Allon Friedman, M.D. is Associate Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine and Vice President of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s VP choice, roots support for Israel in Christian faith

Posted on July 15, 2016 and filed under Israel, U.S., News.

By Sean Savage/JNS.org

After a selection process that more closely resembled a reality television show than the usual political appointments, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday tweeted that his choice for vice president is Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who beat out flashier contenders such as former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

For the pro-Israel community, Pence is viewed as a strong advocate for the Jewish state who can bolster Trump’s sometimes shaky relationship with Jewish leaders. Although he has taken on a strongly pro-Israel tone in recent months, Trump had previously raised concern in pro-Israel circles by saying he would take a “neutral” approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Pence, an evangelical Christian, has noted that his strong support for Israel is rooted in his faith.

“Let me say emphatically, like the overwhelming majority of my constituents, my Christian faith compels me to cherish the state of Israel,” Pence said in an address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2009, while he was serving in Congress.

Many analysts believe Pence can boost Trump’s standing among social conservatives and strengthen his campaign in other areas such as executive experience, foreign policy, and navigating the political scene of Washington, DC.

Pence served in the House of Representatives from 2001-13, including on the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he advocated for robust military defense aid for Israel. As governor of Indiana, Pence has continued his steady record of support for Israel. He visited Israel in late 2014 and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Hoosiers have cherished our relationship with the people of Israel for generations. As we look ahead, deepening our ties with the people, businesses, and state of Israel remains a commitment that will empower us as partners. Grounded in our shared values and our hope for the future, today our friendship is highlighted by a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit shared between our two nations,” Pence said in a statement ahead of that 2014 trip.

David Brog, a member of the board of directors at Christians United for Israel, which helped sponsor Pence’s visit to Israel, praised the Indiana governor as one of the Jewish state’s “most steadfast supporters.”

“We have known and worked with Mike Pence for years. His faith and worldview have made him one of Israel’s most steadfast supporters, both in Congress and as governor,” Brog told JNS.org. “He would be yet another powerful pro-Israel voice on Donald Trump’s team.”

In addition to his support for Israel, Pence, like Trump, favors an American foreign policy that is centered on robust military strength. He has repeatedly called for large increases in military spending and has criticized Democrats for not using the term “Islamic extremism” when describing jihadists.

Pence had also been a vocal critic of the Iran nuclear deal. In 2015, he joined 14 other Republican governors in signing a letter to President Barack Obama expressing their opposition to the deal.

Pence’s stance on the nuclear deal contrasts with his potential vice presidential opponent, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who is rumored to be among presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s finalists for the job.

In 2015, Kaine was among a number of Democratic senators who boycotted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress about the nuclear deal. Nevertheless, Kaine defined himself as a “strong pro-Israel Democrat” in an interview with The Forward, and also told the Washington Jewish Week following a visit to Israel in January 2016 that Netanyahu “is a key partner” that the U.S. must work with.

In Indiana, Pence signed into a law a bill that formally opposed the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer called the Indiana measure the “toughest anti-BDS legislation in the nation.”

Elliot Bartky, president of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana, who worked closely with the Indiana State Assembly and Pence in crafting the anti-BDS legislation, said he feels the governor is an excellent choice by Trump.

“Governor Pence has had a long and distinguished track record advocating for Israel and the Jewish people as a congressman and then governor of Indiana,” Bartky told JNS.org. “We fully expect that if elected vice president, Governor Pence will continue to lead the nation with the type of sorely needed moral clarity and courage on this issue that has typified his career to this point.”

Despite his state’s relatively small Jewish community, Pence has promoted economic ties between Israel and Indiana.

“Israel and Indiana share many concerns that Hoosiers cherish,” Pence said last month at the second annual Indiana-Israel Business Exchange. “As our nation’s strongest and most important ally in the Middle East, Israel is also a key partner in our state’s economic growth.”

Governor Pence Signs Legislation Affirming Indiana’s Support of Israel

Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today signed House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1378, which requires the Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) to divest from any business that engages in action to boycott, divest or sanction the state of Israel. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and goes into effect July 1, 2016.

“I have long believed Israel is our most cherished ally and as such I am proud to sign House Enrolled Act 1378, which affirms Indiana’s support for the state of Israel,” said Governor Pence. “Israel’s enemies are more emboldened than ever before and with the overwhelming bipartisan passage of this legislation, Indiana made clear that we will not do business with those who seek to inflict financial damage on the people of Israel. I thank Speaker Bosma for leading on this important issue and am proud to show Hoosiers are standing with Israel today.”

According to INPRS, HEA 1378 would require INPRS to divest an estimated $50 million in assets of the $28.3 billion invested by the agency.

Indiana Overwhelmingly Approves Anti-BDS bill

Posted by Arutz Sheva, March 3, 2016

State Senate passes near-unanimous measures prohibiting state dealings with anti-Israel boycotts.

The Indiana Senate near-unanimously approved a bill on Tuesday banning state funds from investing in entities that support the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The BDS movement, which aims to demonize, delegitimize, isolate and ultimately destroy the Jewish State has begun to appear in Indiana, especially on college campuses.

The 47-3 approved bill with bipartisan backing proclaims BDS to meet the standards of “extraordinary circumstances necessary for mandatory divestment” by the state’s law.

BDS promotes intimidation, fear and violence across campuses in Indiana according to the bill, and is “unethical and deeply damaging to the cause of peace, justice, equality democracy and human rights for all people in the Middle East.”

The measure, which passed in January by Indiana’s House of Representatives, is expected to be signed into law by Governor Mike Pence, a pro-Israel Republican who served in the US Congress.

The Jewish Affairs Committee of Indiana, which led the lobbying effort for the bill, issued a statement thanking the General Assembly for “placing Indiana among the vanguard of states offering public support for the besieged and democratic state of Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East and beyond.”

Indiana’s bill is one of many bills that have been passed or are currently under consideration in state legislatures that would oppose the BDS movement. Last week, Florida lawmakers also overwhelmingly approved an anti-BDS law in a 112-2 majority.

 

 

Indiana State Passes Anti-BDS Bill

Posted by Virtual Jerusalem, March 3, 2016

The Indiana Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill banning state dealings with entities that boycott Israel or its settlements.

The bill approved 47-3 on Tuesday, with bipartisan backing, defines “the promotion of activities to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel” as meeting the standard of “extraordinary circumstances” necessary under state law to mandate divestment from a company.

The state House of Representatives passed the measure in January. Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican who was a pro-Israel leader when he was in the U.S. Congress, is expected to sign the bill into law.

“This will place Indiana among the select vanguard of states that have publicly defended the Jewish State of Israel using proactive legislation,” said a statement Wednesday by the Jewish Affairs Committee of Indiana, which led the lobbying effort for the bill.

The bill includes in its definition “territories controlled by the Jewish State of Israel,” effectively including any bid to boycott settlements in its purview.

It is one of over 20 bills that have passed or are under consideration in state legislatures that would counter the BDS movement; not all include language targeting settlements. The Obama administration has said that while it will continue to oppose efforts to boycott Israel, it will not oppose bids that specifically target settlements.

The businesses defined in the bill include commercial enterprises and nonprofit organizations, which would mean that the bill, once enacted, would apply to universities. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement has focused its efforts on campuses and scholarly associations.

Funds that would be mandated to divest from businesses that boycott Israel include the retirement funds of teachers and public employees.

Indiana Passes Bill Banning Anti-Israel Boycotts

Senate overwhelmingly approves measure prohibiting state dealings with entities that shun Israel or its settlements

Posted by Times of Israel, March 3, 2016.

WASHINGTON — The Indiana Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill banning state dealings with entities that boycott Israel or its settlements.

The bill approved 47-3 on Tuesday, with bipartisan backing, defines “the promotion of activities to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel” as meeting the standard of “extraordinary circumstances” necessary under state law to mandate divestment from a company.

The state House of Representatives passed the measure in January. Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican who was a pro-Israel leader when he was in the US Congress, is expected to sign the bill into law.

“This will place Indiana among the select vanguard of states that have publicly defended the Jewish State of Israel using proactive legislation,” said a statement Wednesday by the Jewish Affairs Committee of Indiana, which led the lobbying effort for the bill.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with US Indiana Governor Mike Pence in Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem on December 29, 2014. (screen capture: Facebook/The Prime Minister of Israel/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with US Indiana Governor Mike Pence in Jerusalem on December 29, 2014. (screen capture: Facebook/The Prime Minister of Israel/GPO)

The bill includes in its definition “territories controlled by the Jewish State of Israel,” effectively including any bid to boycott settlements in its purview.

It is one of over 20 bills that have passed or are under consideration in state legislatures that would counter the BDS movement; not all include language targeting settlements. The Obama administration has said that while it will continue to oppose efforts to boycott Israel, it will not oppose bids that specifically target settlements.

The businesses defined in the bill include commercial enterprises and nonprofit organizations, which would mean that the bill, once enacted, would apply to universities. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement has focused its efforts on campuses and scholarly associations.

Funds that would be mandated to divest from businesses that boycott Israel include the retirement funds of teachers and public employees.

Indiana State Senate Passes anti-BDS Bill

Posted March 3, 2016 by Haaretz

Bill prohibits state from dealings with any organizations that support BDS, placing Indiana ‘among vanguard of states that have publicly defended the Jewish State of Israel, local group says.

The Indiana Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill banning state dealings with entities that boycott Israel or its settlements.

The bill approved 47-3 on Tuesday, with bipartisan backing, defines “the promotion of activities to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel” as meeting the standard of “extraordinary circumstances” necessary under state law to mandate divestment from a company.

The state House of Representatives passed the measure in January. Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican who was a pro-Israel leader when he was in the U.S. Congress, is expected to sign the bill into law. “This will place Indiana among the select vanguard of states that have publicly defended the Jewish State of Israel using proactive legislation,” said a statement Wednesday by the Jewish Affairs Committee of Indiana, which led the lobbying effort for the bill.

The bill includes in its definition “territories controlled by the Jewish State of Israel,” effectively including any bid to boycott settlements in its purview. It is one of over 20 bills that have passed or are under consideration in state legislatures that would counter the BDS movement; not all include language targeting settlements. The Obama administration has said that while it will continue to oppose efforts to boycott Israel, it will not oppose bids that specifically target settlements.

The businesses defined in the bill include commercial enterprises and nonprofit organizations, which would mean that the bill, once enacted, would apply to universities. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement has focused its efforts on campuses and scholarly associations.

Funds that would be mandated to divest from businesses that boycott Israel include the retirement funds of teachers and public employees.

Indiana anti-BDS bill passes state Senate

Posted by By JTA 03/03/2016  23 Adar/5776

The Indiana Senate overwmingly approved a bill this week banning state dealings with entities that boycott Israel or its settlements.

The bill approved 47-3 on Tuesday, with bipartisan backing, defines “the promotion of activities to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel” as meeting the standard of “extraordinary circumstances” necessary under state law to mandate divestment from a company.

The state House of Representatives passed the measure in January.  Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican who was a pro-Israel leader when he was in the US Congress, is expected to sign the bill into law.

“This will place Indiana among the select vanguard of states that have publicly defended the Jewish State of Israel using proactive legislation,” said a statement Wednesday by the Jewish Affairs Committee of Indiana, which led the lobbying effort for the bill.
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