New NY bill would force divestment from companies that boycott Israel

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Originally published in New York Post on January 15, 2022.

A bill making its way through the state Senate would prohibit New York State from contracting with corporations boycotting Israel.

“BDS as we know it is an orchestrated movement to weaken and delegitimize Israel,” the bill’s sponsor, Long Island Sen. Anna Kaplan, told The Post, referring to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, which calls for institutions to divest from Israel.

“It is really important that we send a very strong message that New York stands with Israel and supports Israel, as we have done for decades.”

New York already has an anti-BDS policy as a result of a 2016 Executive Order issued by former Gov. Cuomo.

After Ben & Jerry’s moved to stop selling their ice cream in parts of Israel, the state pension fund removed more than $100 million in investments from parent company Unilever.

Kaplan says it’s important to upgrade the order to actual statute.

“This bill is really important because it codifies the state’s anti BDS rules into law,” she said.

Kaplan has tried to get the bill over the finish line since 2019. A total of 35 states have adopted some form of anti-BDS legislation according to the Jewish Virtual Library.

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