By Paul Miller, Originally published in JNS.org
With an eye on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, California State Assemblyman Travis Allen (R) on Monday introduced Assembly Bill 1552, which would ensure that California doesn’t contract with businesses that engage in boycotts based on race, color, religion, gender, or nationality.
“California strongly opposes discrimination. Of particular concern lately is the fact that boycotts of entities and individuals affiliated with specific countries can amount to ethnic, religious, racial and/or national origin discrimination. No group better demonstrates this fact than the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), whose use of false, demonizing and delegitimizing propaganda against the State of Israel has become a pretext for the expression of anti-Jewish bigotry,” said Allen.
Since 2005, the BDS movement has targeted the Jewish state for economic and political sanctions. In California, BDS efforts have been widespread within the 10-campus University of California (UC) system. Spurred by the efforts of Students for Justice in Palestine, various student governments and organizations have authorized non-binding resolutions endorsing anti-Israel boycott efforts. During this same time,incidents of anti-Semitism on California campuses have dramatically increased, leading the UC Board of Regents to consider adopting the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism.
Allen’s concerns over BDS efforts go beyond “ethnic, religious, racial, or nationality discrimination.” Targeting Israel for boycotts can have a negative economic impact on the Golden State itself, he argued.