Moments ago the full California Assembly voted to move anti-BDS bill AB 2844 to the Senate. While we understand that the language of the bill as it currently stands needs improvement – we look forward to working with Senators to address the issue of discrimination perpetuated by the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement.

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When enacted, this legislation will prohibit public entities in California from contracting with companies engaged in discriminatory business practices in furtherance of a boycott against Israel. The IAX firmly believes that public entities in California should not be forced to subsidize discrimination advocated by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israeli-Americans, Jewish Americans, or others who choose to freely associate with Israel.

Purpose of the Legislation

The United States and Israel have a unique bond based on shared values reflected in the virtues and principles of freedom and democracy, and have stood together as allies since the rebirth of the modern State of Israel. California and Israel have long established business partnerships and trade relations with each other, and those partnerships have mutually enhanced the agricultural, educational, energy, entertainment, health, medical, scientific, and water sectors in California, Israel and the United States.

On March 5, 2014, as the culmination of an effort started as Assembly Bill 1032 of the 2009-10 Regular Session, the Governor of California and the Prime Minister of Israel signed a memorandum of understanding for strategic partnerships for joint innovation, exchanges, and cooperation between California and Israel.

In July 2015, the Legislature affirmed its support for the MOU by passing SCR 25, noting that participants in the MOU had already expanded cooperation between Israel and California in areas such as alternative energy, agriculture, business innovation, and academia, and declaring that collaboration with Israel will foster peace and democracy in the Middle East.

Companies adhering to boycotts of Israel undermine the aforesaid policy and purpose of encouraging trade, business, and academic cooperation between California and Israel.

Therefore, it is in the best interest of the State of California that it not contract with any company participating in a boycott of Israel.

Background of the Legislation

Since 2004, organized campaigns around the world have promoted a policy of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel based on false comparisons to apartheid South Africa, false accusations of human rights violations, and false accusations of “war crimes.” Campaigns have been launched demanding the “divestment” of university, municipal, church, union and other investment portfolios from companies that do business with Israel, as well as the banning of Israeli products, professionals, academics, academic institutions and artistic performances (in Israel and abroad).

The arbitrary nature of these boycotts and divestments has caused concern about financial uncertainty within investment portfolios and has caused corporations to stray from their fiduciary responsibilities. Proponents of BDS also pressure governments “to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel.” A key element of the BDS campaign is the specific rejection of a two-state solution to the conflict.

(Assembly Judiciary Committee)

This bill, with certain exceptions, would prohibit a public entity from entering into a contract with a company that is participating in discriminatory business practices in furtherance of a boycott of a sovereign nation or peoples recognized by the government of the United States, including, but not limited to, the State of Israel. requires the Attorney General to develop, keep, and maintain a list of companies that engage in discriminatory business practices in furtherance of a boycott of a sovereign nation or peoples, that will be posted on the AG’s web site.

The Attorney General shall provide 90 days’ written notice of its intent to include the company on the list. The notice shall inform the company that inclusion on the list would make the company ineligible to bid on, submit a proposal for, or enter into or renew a contract for goods, services, information technology, or construction for ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more with a public entity. The notice shall specify that the company, if it ceases engaging in a boycott of Israel and the discriminatory business practice and is removed from the list, it may become eligible for a future contract, or contract renewal, for goods, services, information technology, or construction for ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more with a public entity.