Santa Monica Lookout
|Governor Signs Santa Monica Lawmaker’s Bill Against Israel Boycotts||
By Jonathan Friedman
September 26, 2016 -- Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom’s bill prohibiting the State from doing business with contractors that boycott the nation of Israel was signed into law Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The governor did not comment on the bill after signing it.
Assembly Bill 2844 does not take on boycotts of Israel specifically, although the Jewish state is the only one mentioned by name, but rather it requires that if a contractor boycotts any recognized nation that it prove its policy does not violate civil rights laws.
Earlier versions of the bill specifically banned contractors who boycott Israel from doing more than $100,000 of work with State and local governments.
That language faced opposition, while the final version of the bill received only one opposition vote each in the Assembly and Senate ("Santa Monica Assemblyman Proposes Own Bill Against Anti-Israel Boycott," April 5, 2016).
Bloom said the bill’s signing makes a strong statement against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement seeks to undermine the state of Israel and replace the world’s only Jewish homeland, and only functioning democracy in the Middle East, with a single Palestinian State,” Bloom said in a prepared statement.
Critics of the BDS movement say that it falsely compares Israel to apartheid South Africa and makes unfounded accusations against the Jewish state.
They also say the movement’s focus targets more than Israel, but also Jewish people in general.
That allegation was addressed in the final language of Bloom’s bill, which criticizes “discriminatory actions taken against individuals of the Jewish faith under the pretext of a constitutionally protected boycott or protest of the State of Israel.”
Bloom’s legislation received support and opposition from a significant number of activist groups.
Among the supporters is the American Jewish Committee (AJC). Janna Weinstein Smith, the AJC’s Los Angeles regional director, said Brown’s signing of the bill showed “California wants no part of the goals and tactics of the BDS movement.”
She added, “Thanks to this legislation, those who wish to target Jews and Israelis for discrimination will not be doing business with the state of California.”
Opponents include Santa Monica activist and former U.S. congressional candidate Marcy Winograd.
She has written against the legislation for various online publications, and posted on her public Facebook page on Saturday that Brown had “caved to the Israel lobby.”
Calling the legislation an “anti-free speech bill,” Winograd wrote that its purpose is “to chill speech by targeting the ever-popular movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel for its human rights abuse.”
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