As Jews everywhere face a new onslaught of discrimination—most notably the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement—we are beginning to see Americans fighting back on behalf of Israel.
Now, South Carolina has just fired the first salvo against this disturbing anti-Semitic movement.
As we stated previously,
[T]he primary aim of the [BDS] movement is to marginalize and delegitimize Israel on the national scene by pressuring corporate and government entities to participate in economic boycotts against Israeli institutions, pull resources and investments from those institutions, and impose sanctions against the state of Israel because of the ways in which it has chosen to defend itself from the hostile, anti-Semitic forces in the Middle East that seek the outright demise of Israel as a political state.”
This is an issue we are heavily engaged in through our legal and government affairs work at the ACLJ.
And now states are starting to challenge this discrimination head-on as well.
As a native South Carolinian, I’m very pleased to report that the Palmetto State has become the first state in the country to stop the efforts of the BDS movement within its borders.
Last week, Governor Nikki Haley signed H 3583, a bill designed to “prohibit the state or a political subdivision of the state from accepting a proposal from or procuring goods or services from a business which engages in the boycott of a person or an entity based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin.”
The new law will ban any public entities from “contracting with businesses engaging in the boycott of a person or an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with whom South Carolina can enjoy open trade.”
This is a huge win for Israel and a huge win for all of our members who have supported our efforts on this important issue. And this victory will not end here. Many other states will soon follow South Carolina’s lead.
When BDS first emerged as another method of attack against Israel, it was intended to weaken the state, its people, its interests, and its economy. Such attacks not only sought to weaken Israel – but they also envisioned that their efforts would discourage and frustrate those who have always stood with Israel as friends, allies, or trading partners.
The BDS movement grossly underestimated America’s support for Israel.
I am very thankful that South Carolina sent a clear message to those who seek to harm Israel. Israel does not stand-alone. South Carolina stands with the State of Israel, as a close friend and supporter, and we are confident that many other states will soon follow South Carolina’s lead.
Congress is also considering multiple options in addressing the BDS movement and our ACLJ government affairs team based in Washington. D.C. is already on the front lines working to make sure strong language is included in any legislation that develops in the House and Senate.
In order to remain strong in our fight against the BDS movement and see victory after victory achieved - it takes many different approaches and the help of all of our members. Thank you for your engagement on this issue and your support of Israel. Your support is influential beyond Washington, as it also reaches state legislatures– what many refer to as the “real laboratories of democracy.”
As you continue to stand with the ACLJ and Israel, continue to keep your elected officials informed of these issues that are important to you and also add your name to our petitions to Protect Jewish Students on Campus and to Stop President Obama from Bullying Israel.
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