The Arizona legislature on Monday overwhelmingly passed anti-boycott legislation in both houses, a move welcomed by StandWithUs.
The Arizona legislation (HB/2617), introduced by Majority Leader David M. Gowan, prohibits the investment of state funds in companies that boycott Israel, and requires parties contracting with the state government to certify that they do not participate in boycotts against Israel.
The legislation does not raise any 1st Amendment concerns, StandWithUs noted in a statement, because it does not in any way regulate, penalize, or infringe on anyone's private speech or conduct.
Private parties who wish to boycott Israel can continue to do so freely, but the legislation exercises the state's own right to choose the companies in which it will invest and with whom it will contract. Exercising such discretion with taxpayer funds is an important part of reinforcing economic interests, public policy and the basic ethical standards of government.
The legislation ensures that the people and government of the state will not unknowingly become party to discriminatory business practices or boycotts, particularly against our ally, Israel. Furthermore, the legislation provides the private sector with a clear business rationale for avoiding discriminatory practices and boycotts in the first place, should they come under pressure.
With the approval of the law, Arizona joins a host of states that recently passed similar legislation against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Earlier this month, the Indiana Senate near-unanimously approved a bill banning state funds from investing in entities that support the BDS movement.
The 47-3 approved bill with bipartisan backing proclaims BDS to meet the standards of “extraordinary circumstances necessary for mandatory divestment” by the state’s law.