Illinois State House Unanimously Passes anti-BDS Bill

If Gov. Bruce Rauner signs bill, Illinois will become first state to legislate againt Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

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The Illinois State House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would bar state pension funds from including companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

The bill passed the state House on Monday by a vote of 102-0. It previously passed the Illinois State Senate unanimously, 49-0.

The legislation now awaits Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature. With the governor’s signature, Illinois will become the first state to legislate against BDS.

The bill requires the state’s pension system to remove companies that boycott Israel from their portfolios. The bill, an amendment, is based on existing legislation that the Illinois Investment Policy Board currently enforces, mandating that state pension funds be divested from foreign firms doing business in Iran, Sudan or other countries with known human rights violations.

Rauner has indicated that he will sign the bill. In a tweet Monday shortly after the bill passed the House, Rauner wrote: “Looking forward to signing #SB1761 making IL first in the nation to fight BDS against Israel.”

“At the core of the BDS movement is a quest to delegitimize Israel as a sovereign, democratic and Jewish state,” said Chicago Jewish United Fund President Steven Nasatir. “This bipartisan legislation sends a strong message that Illinois will not tolerate such efforts.”

“We anticipate that this legislation will become a model for similar action in many other states,” Nasatir said.

The Indiana and Tennessee state legislatures have both passed nonbinding resolutions opposing boycotts of Israel.