Many companies in the U.S. are boycotting Israel as part of the “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” campaign. Now, state lawmakers are looking to boycott that boycott.
New Jersey House lawmakers are expected to pass legislation that would ban pension investment in companies currently boycotting Israel. If those investments have already been made, the pension fund will have to divest.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously last month. But certain groups, like the ACLU, are questioning the 1st amendment implications of such a measure.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Lawmakers on Monday are expected to pass legislation that would prohibit the state Treasury Department from investing public employee pension funds in companies that boycott Israel as part of the so-called “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” movement.
It would join about a dozen other states that have taken similar action, most recently New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo this month signed an executive order requiring divestment of public funds from companies that have engaged in the BDS campaign against Israel.
The legislation would give the director of the state Division of Investment four months to identify investments that violate the act. Following implementation of the law, the division would have two years to divest, sell, redeem, or withdraw such investments.
Under current law, Treasury is similarly banned from investing pension funds in companies with ties to Iran or Sudan.
The bill would not apply to companies providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.
The ACLU of New Jersey contends that the legislation advancing in Trenton “punishes speech, political and otherwise” and builds “government blacklists targeting people who hold certain political viewpoints.”