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Meeting Palestinian community, GOP Illinois governor candidate indicates opposition to anti-BDS laws

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Republican candidate for governor in Illinois Darren Bailey speaks at the Palestinian American Club in Bridgeview, Illinois, on September 10, 2020. (Palestine TV/Facebook, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Republican candidate for governor in Illinois Darren Bailey speaks at the Palestinian American Club in Bridgeview, Illinois, on September 10, 2020. (Palestine TV/Facebook, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Republican candidate for governor in Illinois met recently with a representatives of a local Palestinian community and indicated that he opposes legislation passed in the state that targets those who engage in boycotts of Israel.

Darren Bailey was hosted at the Palestinian American Club in Bridgeview, Illinois, and spoke in an auditorium where a map of Palestine and a Palestinian flag hung behind him.

In a short recording obtained by The Times of Israel, Bailey was asked for his opinion on the controversial legislation, which has been passed in dozens of states across the US. He appeared to be unfamiliar with it and avoided providing an answer.

Supporters of anti-BDS legislation say it targets those who unfairly single out Israel for boycott while opponents argue that it stifles Americans’ right to free speech.

Pressed again for his opinion on the matter during a subsequent interview with Palestine TV, Bailey said, ““I’ll always stand [for] the Constitution and it sounds like some of those values are being stepped on right now.”

“That’s what’s taking place in every aspect of government with this governor of ours,” he continued, referring to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “He doesn’t follow the law, he doesn’t follow the Constitution… The Muslim community, the Arab community will always have a seat with me as we learn together, work together and live together.”

Pritzker does not appear to have taken a public stance on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, but Illinois authorities in December voted to divest state pension funds from Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, which announced earlier in 2021 that it would cease selling its products in the West Bank.

Pritzker’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment clarifying his position on the matter.

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