May 14, 2020 — Jefferson, Missouri
American Jewish Committee (AJC) applauds the Missouri Legislature for passing today SB 739, the "Anti-Discrimination Against Israel Act."
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, divestment from, and sanctions of Israel. SB 739 carefully articulates Missouri’s public policy against discrimination in public contracting. The legislation exercises the state’s freedom to choose the companies with which it will contract. It 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. SB 739 is consistent with federal law. The U.S. government has emphatically rejected boycotts based on national origin and interferences with foreign trade policy in general. Congress has legislated against boycotts of strategic allies for four decades. Governor Parson is expected to sign the bill into law.
Missouri is the latest state to take concrete action against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which seeks to delegitimize and demonize Israel. Other states that have passed similar measures include 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.
“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. We look forward to Gov. Parson signing this important bill into law,” 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.”
Lisker continued, “Thanks to the strong partnership between AJC and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Christians United for Israel, and countless individuals who have volunteered their time to advocate tirelessly against BDS in Missouri over the last three years, our state achieved this landmark bill.”