A town hall today will bring together community members and legislators to advance the bill forward.
BOSTON—The Israeli-American Coalition for Action (IAC for Action) announced today in Boston that it will rally support for SD.922, bipartisan legislation that would prohibit the state from contracting with companies that violate Massachusetts’s anti-discrimination laws, including companies that boycott Israeli businesses.
The IAC for Action will kick off its advocacy campaign with a Town Hall today at the Merkaz IAC in Newton, Mass., at 7 p.m. Organizers anticipate that several dozen community members will attend the event.
“This legislation will send a powerful message that the hateful and discriminatory environment fostered by BDS has no place in Massachusetts,” said Shawn Evenhaim, Chairman of the Israeli-American Coalition for Action. “Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the discrimination and hate perpetuated by the BDS Movement.”
This month, Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) filed “An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts” alongside a similar bill, HD 779, which was filed by Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) and Rep. Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk). Sen. Creem’s district encompasses the headquarters for IAC Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is home to more than 32,000 Israeli-Americans, many of whom work in the high-tech industry.
In recent years, BDS groups have targeted, harassed, and, in certain cases, physically assaulted those who support Israel or are Americans of Israeli descent, creating an unprecedented climate of intimidation and discrimination, particularly on college campuses. A wave of anti-Semitic rhetoric and anti-Israeli discriminatory activity across the country caused significant concern among lawmakers, leading to the passage of similar bills in California and New York in 2016.
In advocating for this legislation, IAC for Action will highlight the strong academic and business relationships between Israel and Massachusetts.
“Massachusetts and Israel work closely together in wide-ranging ways that benefit both States and all of humanity. Our two States’ academic collaboration—between some of the best universities in the world—is driving life-saving cures and game-changing research. We share a vibrant tech ecosystem that brings together leading companies and innovators in both states,” said Robert Mayer, a member of the IAC for Action in Boston. “Those who participate in the BDS movement are not only acting against America’s values and longstanding interests in the Middle East, they also threaten the long-term economic health of our Commonwealth.”