CA assemblyman calls to divest from companies who boycott Israel

A bill taking aim at the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement was introduced in the California state legislature Monday.

If passed, the bill would prohibit California's government from giving contracts to companies “engaging in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with the State of Israel."

AB 1551, or The California-Israel Commerce Protection Act, was introduced by Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach). 

"The United States and Israel have historically stood together as allies due to our unique bond founded on shared values, a bilateral trade relationship, and our unwavering commitment to freedom and democracy," Allen said in a statement. 

"Any company that is intentionally inflicting harm upon California's trading partners weaken our ability to conduct business and harm the vital economic interests of our state."

California exported over $2.3 billion in goods to Israel in 2014, making the Jewish state California's 18th largest export destination. 

In introducing the bill on Monday, the assemblyman warned that "boycotts of entities and individuals affiliated with specific countries can amount to ethnic, religious, racial and/or national origin discrimination."

According to Allen, "no group better demonstrates this fact than the BDS movement, whose use of false, demonizing and delegitimizing propaganda against the State of Israel has become a pretext for the expression of anti-Jewish bigotry."


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