The New Jersey State Senate has unanimously rejected the Palestinian Authority-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
A bill requiring the state’s public worker pension fund to divest from companies that boycott Israel was approved in a 39-0 vote, NJ.com reported Monday.
The State Assembly must still vote on the measure (S1923), however. Under the legislation, the state Division of Investments would be unable to invest the public workers’ $68.6 billion pension fund in companies that support the boycott.
Those funds already invested with such companies must be removed within the next 18 months, except for companies providing “humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people through either a governmental or non-governmental organization (NGO) unless it is also engaging in prohibited boycotts.”
New Jersey has one of the largest Jewish populations in the United States. But the state also prohibits its pension fund from investing in businesses with ties to Iran, Sudan and Northern Ireland.
“New Jersey cannot support such biased practices as those of the BDS against our sister state,” state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said in a statement.
“Israel has long been a vibrant trading partner, ally and friend with our state, and making sure that we are not investing in any company that seeks to hurt the interests of Israel or its people through boycotts, divestments and sanctions will send a clear message that we stand against this kind of veiled discrimination.”
“I think this bill sends a very clear message to our friends in Israel that New Jersey has your back,” State Senator Jim Beach (D-Camden) added.Hana Levi Julian