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JUF congratulates Illinois General Assembly on passage of anti-BDS bill

Illinois today became the first state to pass legislation countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

With a 102-0 vote in the House of Representatives on May 18 following a 49-0 vote in the Senate, Illinois became the first state to pass legislation countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. With the passage and impending signing of Senate Bill 1761, state pension systems supported by tax dollars will no longer invest in foreign companies that boycott Israel.

"At the core of the BDS movement is a quest to delegitimize Israel as a sovereign, democratic and Jewish state," said Jewish United Fund President Steven B. Nasatir. "This bipartisan legislation sends a strong message that Illinois will not tolerate such efforts.

"Working with colleagues and friends throughout America, we anticipate that this legislation will become a model for similar action in many other states," Nasatir said.

"Illinois has strong economic, scientific, educational and cultural ties with Israel, which bring jobs and other benefits to the citizens of our state," said JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath. "Investing in companies that seek to weaken Israel economically is antithetical to the broad interests of Illinois taxpayers."

"Over the past several weeks, members of our community responded quickly to our action alerts, and made sure their voices were heard," said Steve Greenbaum, JUF's vice chair of state government affairs. "We are grateful for their efforts, which we know made an impact."

From the bill's inception, JUF strategized closely with the Governor's Office and Sen. Ira Silverstein and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, the bill's chief co-sponsors, to help ensure its successful passage. In the end, the bill had 22 co-sponsors, including members of the Black and Latino Caucuses, and Republicans and Democrats alike. 

"We were thrilled to work closely with the governor, leaders from both parties in the General Assembly, and people from throughout the state to advance the bill," said David Golder, chair of JUF's Government Affairs Committee. "We look forward to Gov. Rauner's signature, and applaud the swift and decisive action by the Illinois General Assembly."

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