Bal Harbour takes the lead against BDS bigotry.
Bal Harbour is a small Florida town that is popular with snowbirds. With a population of approximately 3,000 to 8,000, depending on the time of the year, you’d expect this beachfront village, 30 minutes north of Miami, to concern itself only with pleasing tourists and maintaining an adequate supply of sunscreen. But after tonight’s Village Council meeting, Bal Harbour may be the new national standard in defining and combating anti-Semitism.
In 2015, the Village Council passed an ordinance “prohibiting the Village from entering into agreements with businesses that boycott a person or entity based in or doing business with an Open Trade Jurisdiction such as Israel, and requiring businesses to pledge not to engage in such a boycott during agreements with the Village.” At the time, Bal Harbour was following the lead of states such as South Carolina and Illinois, which passed anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) legislation that forbids the state to engage with or invest in entities that boycott the Jewish state.
Two years later, nearly half the states in the union have passed anti-BDS measures, a number that is expected to greatly increase in the coming year. But while debate exists on the inherently anti-Semitic nature of BDS, defining anti-Semitism has become an issue currently being taken up by Congress and states such as South Carolina; and Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman isn’t waiting for other government bodies to act.
“As a local municipality we can do things more efficiently and faster than a state or federal bureaucracy,” Groisman explained to the Haym Salomon Center. “Anti-Semitism in our country is growing at an alarming rate. What is right can’t wait for state and federal politicians to act. That is why I have proposed this measure and hope other towns and cities will follow our lead.”