Illinois Votes to Boycott the Israel Boycotters

Both houses of state legislature force five public sector funds to identify companies sanctioning Israel and begin divesting from them by next year.

A BDS demonstration in Melbourne, Australia, 2010.
Mohammed Ouda/Wikimedia Commons

Both houses of the Illinois General Assembly unanimously passed legislation to force five public sector pension funds to divest from companies boycotting Israel, the Investment and Pensions Europe website reported on Thursday.

The move constitutes a counterattack on the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, also known as BDS. The decision is also diametrically opposed to those made by major European institutional investors, who bowed to pressure from the BDS movement.

Dutch pension fund PGGM decided in January to pull its investments from five Israeli banks, which fund settlements over the Green Line, while Norwegian Pension Fund Global pulled out of property and construction funds operating in Israel for the same reason, the website reported.

The Illinois pension funds have until the beginning of next year to begin divesting from companies found to be boycotting Israel. They control nearly $77 billion, according to Investment and Pensions Europe.