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South Carolina Governor Signs Anti-Boycott Bill

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed into law a measure prohibiting the state from doing business with any firm that boycotts Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

The bill makes no mention of Israel directly, but prevents 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.”

The premise of the law is that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, colloquially known as BDS, discriminates against the people of Israel and weakens the economy of South Carolina.

“Boycott,” for the purposes of the law, is defined as the effort by companies to “blacklist, divest from or otherwise refuse to deal with a person or firm when the action is based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin of the targeted person or entity,” according to the text.

The passage of the law comes a few weeks after a law that unanimously passed the Illinois legislature prohibited the state’s pension fund from investing in businesses that boycott Israel. After the Illinois bill passed, Northwestern University law professor Eugene Kontorovich told The Tower, “companies targeted by the BDS movement are currently doing profitable business with Israel, but are afraid of the tactics of the BDS movement that want them to stop. This allows companies a good response to the BDS movement.”

A press release from the Israel Allies Foundation, which worked on the bills in Illinois and South Carolina, says that legislators in 18 more states are preparing to introduce similar legislation.

Our work on this issue has only just begun. IAF’s team of experts have merged South Carolina’s H 3583 with Illinois’ SB 1761 into one piece of model legislation. IAF has now proven its preparedness to help lead the legislative battle against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) in all fifty states. We are offering all of the supporting resources legislators need to accomplish this important point of public policy. IAF is pleased to announce that a bloc of sponsors across 18 states has already committed to introducing similar legislation in their next legislative cycle.

Moving forward, IAF is in the process of finalizing a partnership with another major pro-Israel organization in the United States. The collaboration will produce a network with over two million members and will go a long way in ensuring the success of the upcoming legislative effort….

Finally, we wish to commend Representative Alan Clemmons for his outstanding leadership in working to make H 3583 the law in South Carolina. Over the years, Representative Clemmons has made an incredible mark in the history of state legislative support for Israel. We are proud to continue our support of his effort to see H 3583 passed everywhere possible. Representative Clemmons truly stands among Israel’s finest friends.

[Photo: C-SPAN / YouTube ]