The BDS movement serves as a means to delegitimize Israel’s existence and inflame tensions in communities and on college campuses across the country. At a time when anti-Israel boycotts are popping up around the country and around the globe, Congress must find new ways to shield the United States and its allies from the evolving threat of economic warfare.

Similar to previous State-based efforts to divest from companies doing business with Iran, there is now a growing movement in state and local governments to enact measures to divest from entities participating in the anti-Israel BDS movement. In fact, Illinois was the first state in the nation to enact a law to divest public pension funds form companies engaging in BDS.

This important, bipartisan legislation empowers community leaders and individuals who seek to counter the hateful targeting of Israel, while sending an unquestionable message about our steadfast opposition to BDS and strong support for those who stand up for Israel.

The Combating BDS Act of 2016 affirms, at the federal level, the legal authority of state and local governments to take tangible actions to counter this economic warfare against Israel. The bill clarifies that state or local governments have the legal authority to identify and divest public funds from entities engaged in BDS when the designations are based on “credible information available to the public.” By clarifying this authority, the Act will protect state and local governments from lawsuits alleging that they are unreasonably burdening or discriminating against interstate or foreign commerce. This nonpreemption safe harbor for asset managers will also give states an offensive capability against entities seeking to economically damage Israel.

The bill is supported by numerous pro-Israel organizations, including the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

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Combating BDS Act of 2016

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