The California state legislature has passed a bill to ensure that the state will not contract with businesses engaged in coercive discriminatory boycotts, including those that undermine California’s relationship with Israel. The State Assembly passed AB 2844, California’s bill combating BDS, by an overwhelming majority, and in concurrence with the State Senate which passed the legislation by a vote of 34-1 on Aug. 24.
Over the past eight months, the Israeli-American Coalition for Action (IAC for Action) has organized and mobilized the Israeli-American community, led a broad coalition of advocacy organizations and worked with a bipartisan group of legislators in support of the bill. In recent years, BDS groups have targeted, harassed and, in certain cases, physically assaulted Californians who support Israel or 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 state caused significant concern among lawmakers.
“Today the California legislature made clear that the state’s taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize discrimination,” said Shawn Evenhaim, Chairman of the Israeli-American Coalition for Action. “We are grateful to the bipartisan group of Assemblymembers including Richard Bloom, Chad Mayes, Marc Levine and Travis Allen, as well as President pro Tempore Kevin de León, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senator Marty Block and the Jewish Caucus for their leadership on this important issue. We hope that Governor Jerry Brown will follow suit and sign this bill into law. We have been proud to rally the Israeli-American community to pass this legislation, which will protect California’s diverse communities from discrimination—now and in the future.”
In advocating for this legislation, IAC for Action has highlighted the strong academic, business and trade relationship between California and Israel. “California and Israel work closely together in ways that benefit both states—from collaboration on stem cell research to fight cancer, to professional exchanges that advance solutions to California’s drought, to business partnerships that have created remarkable job-creating companies,” Evenhaim said. “Those who participate in the BDS movement are not only acting against America’s values and longstanding interests in the Middle East, but also threaten the long-term economic health of our state.”