By Jordan Zaitchik
B'nai Brith Canada
California is en route to become the 22nd state to have an anti-boycotts law.
The state's general assembly approved a bill that was initially introduced by Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D), in February.
The legislation protects Jewish businesses from being boycotted by the state of California both directly and indirectly. It will be illegal for a state entity (or an organization funded by the state) to enter into a contract with an organization that boycotts the state of Israel and Californian Jews.
The integral section of the approved legislation provides the following:
"AB-2844 Public contracts: discrimination. Section 1. (j) - It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that taxpayer funds are not used to do business with or otherwise support any state or private entity that engages in discriminatory actions against individuals under the pretext of exercising First Amendment rights. This includes, but is not limited to, discriminatory actions taken against individuals of the Jewish faith under the pretext of a constitutionally protected boycott or protest of the State of Israel."
The bill passed in the house unanimously.
Assembly Member Travis Allen (R), played a key role in creating the legislation. He praised the bipartisan effort to pass the bill.
“It is always the right time to fight against discrimination and hate speech, and today the Republicans are honored to stand strong in this bipartisan fight,” he said. “California 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. It is unconscionable for our state to do business with companies that play politics and boycott our critical allies,”
The state senate is scheduled for its first reading on June 28.