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Arizona joins Florida in passing groundbreaking pro-Israel legislation

On March 18th, he Arizona state legislature passed anti-BDS legislation, HB 2617, developed by the Israel Allies Foundation. Arizona makes it four states that have adopted this groundbreaking anti-BDS directed at barring state agencies from  investing  in companies that boycott Israel. That is not lost on listeners to the Lisa Benson Show on KKNT 960 The Patriot in Phoenix. We heard about the launch of that effort from South Carolina State Rep. Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach) on a December 6, 2015 broadcast when he was in town to meet with members of the Arizona state legislature.  South Carolina led the way with the enactment of the Palmetto State’s version in June 2015. We have also had as frequent a guest on the eponymous weekly national security show, the head of the bi-partisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, Arizona U.S. Representative Trent Franks.

We posted on Florida Governor Rock Scott signing the anti-BDS statute into law on March 10th that in January and February, 2016 passed both the Senate and House in Tallahassee resoundingly. This past Tuesday, this writer and Northwest Florida ‘Your Turn” talk show host  Mike Bates on 1330 am WEBY Pensacola  interviewed Florida State Representative Mike Hill (R-District  2) on his co-sponsorship of this landmark anti-BDS legislation and sponsorship of ‘Andy’s law ‘ this session in Tallahassee. Listen to the interview.

The Israel Allies Foundation press release on the latest Arizona anti-BDS victory cited someone we regard as a valued friend of Israel and pushback against intrusive foreign laws, Joseph Sabag, Esq. Sabag is deputy director of the IAF. We worked closely with Sabag, Esq, Esq in the period 2012 to 2014 in the citizen lobbying effort,  with partner  Tony Verdugo and his team from the Florida Christian Family Coalition, to pass bi-partisan legislative resolutions in support of Israel and the Florida version of American Laws  for American Courts (ALAC) in 2014.

Sabag of IAF extolled this latest victory in the national fight against BDS:

We applaud the State of Arizona for HB-2617 the law. Arizona’s new anti-discrimination/boycott law is good as a matter of economic policy, public policy and foreign policy. We salute Speaker David Gowan and Arizona’s legislature for their leadership and public service. The low financial thresholds in this statute make it the most effective and far-reaching law yet passed in confronting the BDS problem,” said Joseph M. Sabag, Deputy Director of the Israel Allies Foundation.

Lead sponsor of the bill, Arizona House Speaker David Gowan, praised the Israel Allies Foundation for their role:

Arizona stands with Israel. Period. HB 2617 makes clear that our state will not invest in or contract with parties that harm our state’s economic interests and undermine our protections from discrimination. The hatred of the BDS Movement will receive nothing other than condemnation from the State of Arizona and its citizens I wish to especially thank the professionals at the Israel Allies Foundation, without whose policy support and educational resourcing our state could not have succeeded in defending such vital interests. I also wish to commend the terrific public support delivered from the pro-Israel community, and particularly the advocates at Stand With Us.

Stalwarts among Arizona’s Congressional Delegation supporting Israel offered their praise of the anti-BDS legislation:

Congressman Trent Franks, Congressional Israel Allies Caucus Chairman:

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movements (BDS) is a burgeoning campaign, shamefully aimed at disrupting the economic and financial stability of the State of Israel, including by causing direct harm to the economic interests of persons or American companies trading with Israel or conducting business in and with the State of Israel. As part of our efforts to combat this unusual and extraordinary threat, I stand in strong support with the State of Arizona’s Legislature in passing HB 2617, which promotes and strengthens Arizonians’ economic interests, while ensuring the state government does not financially support commercial efforts to boycott, divest or sanction the State of Israel.

Congresswoman Martha McNally (R-AZ 2nd), co-introducer of legislation, “The Fair Treatment of Israel in Product Labeling Act” on February 12, 2016 to protect against political boycotts of Israel:

I’m proud to see Arizona leading in the fight against Israeli discrimination. It’s never been more important that we stand with our ally against politically charged boycotts, which is why I’ve introduced legislation in Congress to prevent the discrimination of Israeli-produced goods. I’ll continue to stand with Israel and commend Arizona for doing the same.

Congressman Matt Salmon (R-AZ 5th), Congressional Israel Allies Caucus member:

The Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement is just a new face on old anti-Semitism.  As ultra-liberal extremists have repeatedly tried to bully non-profits, schools, and municipal governments into supporting this cause, this legislation could not be more welcome.  I’m proud to hear it passed here in Arizona, and I’m looking forward to the governor taking quick action.

Let’s see how many other states adopt this groundbreaking anti-BDS legislation regarding scrutinized companies preventing state pension funds from investing in companies that boycott Israel.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.