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Watching BDS like a Hawkeye: Iowa latest state to stand against Israel boycotts

By Joshua Sharf, Originally published in JNS

Iowa on April 27 became the latest U.S. state to pass legislation designed to undermine the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In a 38-9 vote with three excused absences, the Iowa Senate passed one of the strongest anti-BDS bills in the country. While all nine “no” votes came from Democrats, that party controls the State Senate with a 26-24 majority.

The prospective law would prohibit both investment and contracting by the so-called “Hawkeye State” with companies participating in BDS, either against Israel or “territories controlled by Israel.” The bill also prohibits secondary boycotts by extending its ban to boycotters of those who do business in Israel or the “territories.”

“This bill ensures the State of Iowa will not support those that participate in campaigns fueled by intolerance and anti-Semitism—like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The passing of this new law sends a clear message against the bigotry and discrimination of the BDS movement,” said Peggy Shapiro, central region director of the pro-Israel education and advocacy group StandWithUs. “We welcome the fact that Iowa is joining Illinois, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona, and almost 20 states which have either passed or introduced similar legislation which rejects the boycott campaign.”

Shapiro credits numerous community organizations for providing grassroots support for the Iowa bill, and particularly the Israel Allies Foundation for its leadership on the issue.

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