MidEast

Lawmakers in Ohio Work to Pass Anti-Boycott Legislation in Support of Israel

Lawmakers in Ohio are working to pass legislation in support of Israel and denouncing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, especially on campuses, Shiri Moshe reported in The Algemeiner on Wednesday.

Rep. Andrew Thompson (R-Marietta) spoke in support of the House Concurrent Resolution 10 (HCR10) at the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday, a bill which is also sponsored by Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) and supported by over two dozen other lawmakers.

“Antisemitism is not just in existence, but it’s a growing threat on college campuses across the state of Ohio,” Thompson said. “We shouldn’t kid ourselves,” he continued, “The BDS movement is about wiping Israel off the map. And if we don’t stand strongly and firmly against that, if we do not insist that our campuses protect the rights of Jewish students and allies of Israel, we could potentially face much darker outcomes.”

The resolution condemns the anti-Semitic BDS movement, which seeks to delegitimize and demonize Israel worldwide.  The bill also denounces efforts to silence Israeli academics and students.

It further calls on Ohio universities to “take an active stand against all anti-Semitic actions and intimidation taken against Jewish students on their campuses,” and to rigorously enforce the right to free speech on campuses.

In March, for the third time in two years, students at Ohio State University rejected a motion calling for divestment from companies that engage in business with Israel.

A recent study, published by the Israel on Campus Coalition advocacy group, revealed that BDS activists routinely engage in “hostile disruptions of pro-Israel events” in order to pressure their opponents into silence.

In a statement, Greenspan echoed the concerns raised by Thompson. He observed that college campuses were “increasingly experiencing threats, acts of violence, and deliberate interference with the learning environment, not only for American and Israeli students, but all students.”

In December 2016, Ohio became the 14th state to enact anti-boycott legislation. Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill, which prohibits state agencies from contracting with businesses or individuals who boycott Israel.

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