Missouri joined the majority of US states when its legislature passed a bill prohibiting the state from contracting with companies that boycott Israel or are connected to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The state’s House of Representatives passed SB 739, the “Anti-Discrimination Against Israel Act” on Thursday with a 95-40 vote. The state’s Senate passed the bill with a 28-1 vote last month.
Governor Mike Parson is expected to sign the bill into law.
The bill will prohibit the State of Missouri and its political subdivisions from entering into contracts worth over $100,000 with companies with 10 or more employees that engage in the boycott of Israel.
The bill does not penalize or infringe on any individual’s right to free expression or penalize companies that choose not to do business with Israel for legitimate economic reasons and is consistent with federal law.
“The legislature has taken bold action to combat the insidious and hateful BDS movement that singles out Israel and encourages punitive actions against its economy and citizens,” said Nancy Lisker, Director of the AJC St. Louis Region. “Israelis and Palestinians want peace, they want investment not divestment, and they want for the whole region to prosper. Through this legislation both economies, Missouri’s and Israel’s, will continue to grow.”
Missouri is the latest state to act against the BDS movement, joining Alabama, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas. Once signed into law, Missouri will become the 29th state to have enacted an anti-BDS executive order or legislation.
Other states are considering legislation targeting companies that comply with the anti-Israel BDS movement, and many countries around the world have introduced and passed similar laws.
The BDS movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts against Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent struggle against the so-called “Israeli occupation.” Critics say its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism and that its true objective is to destroy the State of Israel.