(JTA) – A bill that would bar state pension funds from including companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel passed an Illinois State House of Representatives committee. The bill on May 13 was unanimously approved by the Illinois State House of Representatives Executive Committee by a vote of 10-0 and will now move forward for a vote by the full chamber. It previously passed the Illinois State Senate unanimously, 49-0. 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.
In a statement, B’nai B’rith International said it “applauds Illinois citizens and their representatives for taking such a strong stance against a movement rooted in antisemitism that ultimately impedes the peace process by opposing constructive dialogue between Israel and Palestinians.”
The Illinois Coalition to Protect Academic Freedom and Free Speech is opposing the bill. Among the groups participating in the coalition are: CAIR-Chicago, Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, and Arab-Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East.
The Indiana and Tennessee state legislatures have both passed nonbinding resolutions opposing boycotts of Israel.