The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly praises both houses of the Illinois legislature for unanimously passing anti-boycott bills HB4011 and SB1761, and strongly praises Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner for pledging to sign this important anti-boycott legislation. Governor Rauner tweeted: “Looking forward to signing #SB1761 making IL first in the nation to fight BDS against Israel. Great work @StateRepSara & Sen. Silverstein. Bruce Rauner@GovRauner.”
The ZOA is especially pleased that the Illinois legislation prohibits Illinois pension funds from investing in companies that engage in boycotts targeted at Jewish and Israeli businesses in any part of Israel, including the historic Jewish areas of eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. The Illinois legislation provides that “boycott Israel” means “engaging in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with the State of Israel or companies based in the State of Israel or in territories controlled by the State of Israel.”
This means that BDS groups will not be able to get away with so-called “targeted” boycotts aimed against Jewish and Israeli businesses located in vibrant communities in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, where 600,000 Jews reside. Jews have lived in these areas throughout the millennia, except during the 19-year period from 1949-1967, when Jordan illegally occupied Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, and Jordan murdered and expelled the Jews from their homes and destroyed dozens of ancient Jewish synagogues.
The scourge of boycott, divestment and sanctions (“BDS”) unjustly and falsely demonizes Israel and threatens to destroy Israel economically. The ultimate purpose of BDS is to undermine support for the Jewish State’s very survival.
ZOA National President Morton Klein stated:
“BDS is the modern incarnation and continuation of age-old anti-Semitic boycotts perpetrated against Jews, which Theodore Herzl condemned 120 years ago, and which Israeli leaders on both the right and the left have spoken out against in recent years. ZOA congratulates Illinois Governor Rauner, the Illinois legislature, and all those who worked to pass this exemplary legislation.”
In 1993, when the PLO signed the Oslo accords, the Palestinian Arab leadership agreed to cooperate economically with Israel. Instead, PA leaders and related entities, including anti-Israel hate groups such as “Students for Justice in Palestine” and “Friends of Sabeel-North America” and phony Jewish “peace” groups such as “Jewish Voice for Peace,” have mounted worldwide anti-Semitic economic warfare against Jews and the Jewish State.
BDS also harms peaceful co-existence and the economic well-being of Arab Palestinians, who have lost hundreds of well-paid jobs in Jewish-owned businesses that were damaged by anti-Israel anti-Jewish boycotts.
It is painful to see that there are a number of far left-wing Jewish groups that actively promote various forms of anti-Israel anti-Jewish BDS, including Partners for Progressive Israel, J Street (including by honoring, featuring and bringing BDS leaders to conferences and college campuses), Jewish Voice for Peace, Open Hillel, Americans for Peace Now, and The Third Narrative (subsidiary of Ameinu), and New Israel Fund, which funds BDS groups including groups that built the BDS infrastructure. Such far left groups, including Partners for Progressive Israel and J Street, have been actively working to stop anti-BDS legislation. The ZOA urges the UJA and JCRC to stop these BDS groups from marching in the upcoming Celebrate Israel Parade.
The ZOA hopes that the federal government and more states will follow Illinois’ example.