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Illinois state house passes anti-BDS legislation

Lawmakers unanimously approve bill that bars state pension funds from companies that participate in anti-Israel campaign

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (YouTube screenshot)
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (YouTube screenshot)

Illinois lawmakers unanimously passed a bill that bars state pension funds from companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

The bill passed the state’s House of Representatives on Monday by a vote of 102-0. The state Senate had passed the measure unanimously as well, 49-0.

With the expected signature of Gov. Bruce Rauner, Illinois would be the first state to legislate against BDS.

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.”

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

“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.”

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

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