Anti-BDS Bill Introduced in California

Bill seeks to forbid California government from contracting with companies 'engaging in boycotts based on race, color, religion, gender or nationality.'

A pro-BDS student at an Open Hillel Conference.
Gili Getz

A bill squarely aimed at countering the effectiveness of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement was introduced in the California legislature on Monday.

If adopted, the bill would forbid the California state government from contracting with companies “engaging in boycotts based on race, color, religion, gender or nationality.”

Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach in Orange County, in introducing the bill, noted that “California strongly opposes discrimination. Of particular concern lately is the fact that boycotts of entities and individuals affiliated with specific countries can amount to ethnic, religious, racial and/or national origin discrimination.

“No group better demonstrates this fact than the BDS movement, whose use of false, demonizing and delegitimizing propaganda against the State of Israel has become a pretext for the expression of anti-Jewish bigotry,” Allen said.

Allen added that the bill “ensures that California won’t support businesses that actively seek to undermine our mutually beneficial trading relationships, based on prejudice.”

Last year, the legislatures of South Carolina and Illinois approved similar anti-BDS bills.