NY Senate Passes Anti-BDS Legislation

NEW YORK – The New York State Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that prohibits the state from doing business with companies that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The bill (S6378A) was sponsored by Senators Jack Martins, a Republican from Long Island, and Simcha Felder, a Democrat from Brooklyn, who caucuses with the Republican majority. Martins is running for Congress on the open seat of Rep. Steve Israel, who recently announced he will not be seeking reelection.

The bill, pending the State Assembly’s vote, expands existing state law to prevent New York from entering into a state contract or investment with those seeking to economically harm U.S. allies.

“New York taxpayers need to be protected from becoming unwitting supporters of those who are trying to undermine our greatest ally, Israel, and other critical allies,” Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said in a statement. “We are demonstrating that New York will continue to stand with our international partners and protect our shared interests.”

Current New York State law prohibits the State from directly engaging in an international boycott against U.S.-allied nations. New York City has a similar prohibition as part of its administrative code. However, the state could indirectly support a boycott of allied countries by providing state funds to businesses or individuals that participate in boycotts. The legislation passed on Wednesday would prohibit state contracting with, or state investment in businesses or individuals that promote or engage in activities to boycott, sanction, or divest in Israel and other allied nations.

Like other states that have passed similar laws, state government would use publicly available information to develop a reference list of companies, organizations, or other entities that have engaged in or promoted boycotts of American allies.

“Israel and our other allies stand side
by side with us to protect New Yorkers and all Americans. We owe it to them to ensure our own resources are not used in efforts to attack them,” Martins said in a statement. “This sends a strong message that New York State supports those who have continually supported us.”

Felder, who represents the Orthodox Jewish enclave of Borough Park, added, “Those who advocate and engage in boycotts against Israel, and who promote anti-Semitic ideology, have no place as a state contractor. This is very meaningful legislation that protects our nation’s allies and stands up against bigotry and injustice.”

The State Assembly passed a resolution last year rejecting the BDS movement and reaffirming its support for Israel. The resolution, introduced by Assemblymembers Walter Mosley (D-Brooklyn) and Phil Goldfeder (D-Queens) and co-sponsored by 74 members, rejected the BDS movement and all activities in New York, which “undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution and the right of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination.”

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