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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.

Indiana Passes BDS Resolution

Posted by Forward, March 2, 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 Spence, 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 in its diplomatic dealings 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 passed, 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 General Assembly Stands up for Israel with Measure

Posted at  IndyStar 4:35 p.m. EST March 2, 2016

On behalf of Hoosier supporters of Israel, the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana wishes to thank the Indiana General Assembly for its bipartisan, near-unanimous support in passingHouse Bill 1378. Special thanks must be given to Speaker Brian Bosma, the bill’s primary sponsor and main author, and Senate Majority Leader Brandt Hershman, the primary sponsor in the Senate. The bill prevents Indiana state pension funds from investing in entities that support the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.

The BDS Movement, which seeks to demonize, delegitimize, isolate and ultimately destroy the Jewish state of Israel, has begun to appear in Indiana, especially on college campuses. The General Assembly’s support of HB 1378 demonstrates that the BDS Movement is morally repugnant to Hoosiers and will find no hospitable ground here. The bill’s passing also places 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.

Elliot Bartky, President, Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana, and Allon Friedman, Vice President

Indiana anti-BDS bill passes state Senate

Originally published by  Jewish Telegraphic Agency,  

WASHINGTON (JTA) — 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.

News Alert: Update on Legislation and Local Issues

Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana

NEWS ALERT

 

The Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana is pleased to share the following notable successes we have achieved over the past few months:

  • Yesterday the Indiana State Senate voted 47-3 to approve our anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) bill.  This follows in the footsteps of a 93-0 vote of support in the Indiana State House.  Special thanks goes to House Speaker Brian Bosma, the bill’s primary sponsor (please take a moment to call his office at 800-382-9841 and thank him for his support).   We expect that Governor Pence will sign this bill into law very soon.  This will place Indiana among the vanguard of states willing to publicly defend the Jewish State of Israel.   An anti-BDS resolution that was also authored by JAACI and that unanimously passed both the State House and Senate last spring received national and international attention.  We expect the current bill will receive even greater attention (numerous articles have already been written about it—you can google them) and we look forward to sharing some of it with you. The current bill can be read here:  https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2016/bills/house/1378#document-bc66abd9
  • The IUPUI campus has recently been plagued with anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and pro-BDS incitement, most of it sponsored by a particular professor on campus.  JAACI recently found out that this same professor had organized a Holocaust memorial ceremony in 2015 and planned to do so again this year.  This was not your typical Holocaust memorial service.  The primary sponsoring group was Students for Justice in Palestine and speakers included two local BDS-supporting Jews.  Moreover, the service intentionally conflated the Jewish victims of the Holocaust with various other groups that were also targeted by the Nazis.  This strategy of “universalizing” the Holocaust is an increasingly common tactic used by Israel’s enemies and the first step to accusing Israel itself of carrying out a holocaust.  Through an influential ally, JAACI was able to establish a dialogue with the IUPUI chancellor and explain why having this professor run the Holocaust service was intolerable.  The chancellor ultimately agreed and has turned the service over to campus Jewish groups to administer.
  • Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is a virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic national group that serves as the “tip of the spear” for the pro-BDS movement.  Last fall JAACI found out that the regional leader of JVP was and is continuing to serve on the boards of local Jewish communal organizations.  JAACI immediately organized a large public awareness campaign to notify these organizations that this individual cannot reasonably continue to serve as an officer of these groups while at the same time trying to undermine the Jewish State and Jewish people.  JAACI has received assurances, which will need to be confirmed over time, that this individual will no longer be able to play both sides of the fence, so to speak.

 

  • JAACI continues to promote the cause of Israel and the Jewish people through published op-eds, letters, and speaking events, some of which can be found on JAACI’s website (www.jaaci.org).

 

JAACI has achieved some great success recently and hopes to bring further good news in the coming months.  JAACI wishes to thank all its supporters throughout Indiana and beyond and remind them that its success is due to the hard work of dedicated individuals who have volunteered their time and effort for the Jewish values of Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh beZeh—that all of Israel is responsible for one another—and Pikuach Nefesh—the preservation of human life.

 

Respectfully,

 

The Staff of JAACI

As anti-BDS laws spread across US, some say they go too far

February 23, 2016, 9:21 pm, posted in The Times of Israel

Nearly half the states in the country are considering legislation aimed at countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement. But critics say some bills are cause for concern, either because they seek to legitimate Israeli settlements or go so far in punishing boycott supporters they infringe on constitutionally protected speech.

Two states, Illinois and South Carolina, passed laws last year mandating state divestment from companies that boycott Israel, according to a list maintained by Americans for Peace Now. Another 11 states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia – are considering similar laws. Kansas and Pennsylvania are debating legislation that would defund universities that participate in an Israel boycott. And another six states are considering or have adopted nonbinding resolutions condemning Israel boycotts.

In all, 21 state legislatures have taken up bills concerning BDS. Proponents say the trend will intensify this year, as activists move to consolidate their gains by pushing laws in states that have already passed nonbinding resolutions condemning BDS.

“Those states see what they’re doing now as a follow-up, as a successor,” said Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University who has consulted with groups advancing anti-BDS legislation. “They’re implementing laws that use state contracting power to fight back against racism.”

Liberal activists see a different motivation, describing the push as a stealth maneuver to reverse nearly 50 years of US policy of not recognizing the the legitimacy of Israeli settlements. Americans for Peace Now says 19 of the 54 BDS laws that have been proposed since 2014 extend penalties to those targeting only West Bank settlements. A bill adopted by the Indiana House of Representatives in January, for example, requires the state pension fund to divest from companies that participate in a boycott of businesses based in Israel “or territories controlled by the Jewish state of Israel.”

“Backers of this effort are cynically exploiting concerns about anti-Israel BDS to promote legislation that while purportedly about defending Israel, is actually about legitimizing settlements,” said Lara Friedman, Americans for Peace Now’s director of government relations. “Most American Jews and legislators don’t understand that their support for Israel is being abused to promote an agenda that is anathema to their long-held view.”

In some cases, traditional pro-Israel groups and lawmakers have driven the legislative push. Virginia’s legislation, backed by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, does not include language protecting the settlements. Ron Halber, the JCRC director, said that doing so would split a Jewish community still reeling from the contentious debate last year over the Iran nuclear deal.

“The greatest threat to Israel is the disunity of the American Jewish community,” Halber said. “Any legislation we do, we’re going to make sure both sides feel comfortable.”

But New York’s bill, which was adopted by the state Senate in January and was ordered to have a third reading in the Assembly, does extend protections to Israeli settlements. The bill requires the state to produce a list of “persons” deemed to be engaging in a boycott who would then be rendered ineligible to do business with the state.

A spokeswoman for Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that backs the BDS movement and is among a network of groups countering the anti-boycott laws, said New York’s bill amounts to a “blacklist.”

“The tactic of economic pressure is becoming increasingly accepted and has prompted a backlash of questionable constitutionality,” spokeswoman Naomi Dann said.

The New York JCRC declined to say whether it supports the law, which is backed by the Zionist Organization of America and other right-wing groups. Simcha Felder, the Democratic state senator who co-sponsored the bill, said the law doesn’t limit anyone’s right to free expression.

“The legislation doesn’t prevent anyone from speaking or promoting a boycott, nor from making other vile and prejudicial statements,” Felder told JTA in an email. “That’s a person’s constitutional right. But they don’t have a constitutional right to be a New York State contractor.”

State Sen. Jack Martins, the Republican who initiated the bill, said allies should defer to one another on security issues, noting the Israeli government has cast efforts to single out settlements as a threat.

“As a sovereign nation they have the ability to make the decisions for themselves,” he said. “Any actions” boycotters “take against Israel or its components is an attack on our relationship with Israel.”

Several activists involved in BDS legislation said the failure of Congress to act on Israel boycotts has forced the issue at the state level, where public pension funds often invest in companies targeted by the BDS movement. Though there are a number of proposals under consideration in Washington, none are as sweeping as the Illinois and South Carolina laws.

“There’s been no movement,” said Ira Silverstein, a Democratic state senator in Illinois who sponsored the nation’s first state anti-BDS law, which banned pension funds from dealing with entities that boycott Israel. “Congress has its own issues.”

Two trade laws passed in Washington in the last year include provisions extending previous congressional calls to discourage cooperation with entities that boycott Israel to those that solely target settlement goods. The Obama administration has said it will comply broadly with the laws, but will ignore provisions that seek protection for settlement goods.

Right-wing Jewish activists have allied with Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, a pro-Israel Christian group that has been involved in advancing anti-BDS measures in several southern states. Joanne Bregman, a Jewish lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee, who has worked with Proclaiming Justice to the Nations on anti-BDS legislation, said she sees no difference between boycotting Israeli settlements and boycotting Israel proper.

“You either believe Judea and Samaria was always part of Israel or you do not,” Bregman said, using the biblical terms for the West Bank.

Elliot Bartky, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and his group, the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana, moved the legislation through the Indiana House.

In 2011, Bartky co-wrote an Op-Ed in the American Thinker that laid out a plan to challenge the “leftist” Jewish establishment. Bregman, who befriended Bartky after reading the Op-Ed, told JTA it was “startling” to encounter official Jewish reluctance to partner with Christian groups in advancing BDS legislation.

The Indianapolis JCRC in an email said it supports the Indiana law and acknowledged Bartky’s leadership in getting it passed.

“The JCRC has directed the lion’s share of our anti-BDS efforts toward educating the larger community outside the statehouse, particularly on central Indiana campuses where there has been a precipitous uptick in pro-BDS events,” said Lindsey Mintz, the JCRC director.

Indiana Lawmakers Pass Bill To Ban Dealings With Pro-BDS Entities, Forward

January 29, 2016 Forward

The Indiana House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill banning state dealings with entities that boycott Israel.

The bill sent to the state’s Senate on Jan. 26 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 Indiana bill states that the effort to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel is “antithetical and deeply damaging to the cause of peace, justice, equality, democracy and human rights for all people in the Middle East.”

The bill is one of about a dozen now under consideration in state legislatures that would counter the BDS movement

The businesses defined in the bill include commercial enterprises and non-profit organizations, which would mean that the law, once passed, 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 teachers’ retirement fund and the public employees retirement fund.

Elliot Bartky, the president of the Jewish Affairs Committee of Indiana, which lobbied for the bill, thanked the state House for its passage, and noted in a statement that its sponsor, House Speaker Brian Bosma, a Republican, had led passage last year of a non-binding resolution in the House condemning BDS; a similar resolution was approved in the Senate

“Speaker Bosma’s leadership role in support of Israel places Indiana at the forefront of states taking a strong position in favor of the United States’ closest ally,” Bartky’s statement said.

Should the state Senate approve the bill, Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican known for his pro-Israel leadership while he was in the U.S. Congress, is expected to sign it.

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