February 6, 2018 — New York, NY
AJC is calling on a federal court to uphold an Arizona law supportive of the state’s relations with Israel and to oppose efforts to declare the measure unconstitutional.
The law “advances Arizona’s legitimate interest in protecting its commerce with Israel and insuring that Arizona can take full advantage of what Israel has to offer in its contracting,” AJC argues in an amicus brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
The legislation, HB 2617, bars Arizona government agencies from engaging contractors who participate in boycotts of Israeli goods or services. Boycotts targeting Israel have been promoted by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“Arizona lawmakers, like state officials across the country, have recognized that the BDS campaign aims to single out Israel for punitive action and does not offer a path to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace,” said AJC General Counsel Marc Stern. “In fact, BDS movement leadership seeks and has actively promoted the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.”
In asking for permission to file the brief, AJC noted that it has spearheaded legislation and executive action to ensure that no unit of government is compelled to subsidize a contractor’s decision to boycott Israeli goods or services.
At the same time, AJC emphasizes that HB 2617 does not “infringe on private citizens’ rights” to take actions against Israel. AJC’s Stern explained that “contractors can choose to boycott Israel in their private capacities as long as those private activities do not affect their contracting activities.”
The Court should recognize the State of Arizona’s legitimate interest in “not allowing public funds to be used to subsidize invidious or discriminatory boycotts,” states the AJC brief.
Gregory E. Ostfeld of Greenberg, Traurig, LLP, prepared the amicus brief for AJC.