(May 15, 2020 / JNS) The Missouri state legislature passed a bill on Thursday to prohibit the state contracting with companies that boycott Israel.
The state’s House of Representatives passed the measure, 95-40, while the state Senate did so, 28-1, on April 30. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, is expected to sign it into law, which would make Missouri the 28th state to enact such a measure to combat the anti-Israel BDS movement.
The legislation would prohibit Missouri and its political subdivisions from entering into contracts worth more than $100,000 with companies with 10 or more employees that engage in BDS.
Moreover, it exercises the state’s freedom to choose firms for contracts. It does not penalize or infringe on any individual’s right to free expression, or penalize companies that choose not to do business with Israel for legitimate economic reasons.
Jewish and pro-Israel groups applauded the bill’s passage.
“The legislature has taken bold action to combat the insidious and hateful BDS movement that singles out Israel and encourages punitive actions against its economy and citizens. We look forward to Gov. Parson signing this important bill into law,” said Nancy Lisker, director of the American Jewish Committee’s St. Louis region, in a statement. “Israelis and Palestinians want peace, they want investment not divestment, and they want for the whole region to prosper. Through this legislation both economies, Missouri’s and Israel’s, will continue to grow.”
In a statement, StandWithUs co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein said, “Since Israel’s establishment in 1948, the Jewish state has faced countless efforts aimed at isolating and undermining its very existence. Missouri has made it clear that it will not tolerate singling out and targeting the world’s only Jewish state.”
Christians United for Israel founder and chairman John Hagee in a statement that “CUFI’s more than 200,000 members across Missouri and more than 8 million members across the country are grateful to the Missouri state legislature for unequivocally saying ‘no’ to the anti-Semitic BDS movement. Taxpayer dollars should never be doled out to those who seek to destroy the Jewish state.”
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