Whasington, 9 Shawwal 1436/25 July 2015 (MINA) – The Republican governor of the US state of Illinois has signed a controversial bill prohibiting state pension funds from investing in companies that boycott Israel.
Governor Bruce Rauner, surrounded by state legislators and Jewish community leaders, signed the legislation into law on Thursday, The Times of Israel reported.
The supporters of the bill called it “the first state-based measure to take specific concrete action against boycotts of Israel,” referring to the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Press TV quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
The legislation requires state pension systems to terminate direct investment in companies that participate in the BDS movement targeting Israel.
The bill defines the boycott Israel campaign as “engaging in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with…Israel or companies based in… Israel or in territories controlled by…Israel.”
“We need to stand up to anti-Semitism whenever and wherever we see it,” Rauner stated.
“This historic legislation is an important first step in the fight against boycotts of Israel and I hope other states move quickly to follow our lead,” he added.
The development comes as the BDS movement is gaining momentum across the United States and in many places in Europe.
The boycott movement seeks to end the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands and respect the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
The BDS campaign against Israel began in July 2005 by 171 Palestinian organizations, which calls for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his officials have called the BDS campaign a new form of terrorism to delegitimize Israel.
Supporters of the movement, including a growing number of American Jews, have called such criticism a fearmongering and divisive tactic meant to prevent legitimate debate about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. (T/P010/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)