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Historic anti-BDS legislation signed into law

Illinois' historic anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions bill, SB 1761, was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner Thursday.

  anti-BDS law group shot

Gov. Bruce Rauner signs the anti-BDS bill into law. Rauner was joined, from left, by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, State Sen. Ira Silverstein, JUF President Steven Nasatir, Israel Consul General to the Midwest Roey Gilad and American Jewish Committee Chicago Region Director Amy Stoken.

Illinois' historic anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions bill, SB 1761, was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner Thursday, enacting legislation that is serving as a model for similar measures in some 20 other states.

The new law prohibits investment of Illinois state pension dollars in foreign companies that boycott Israel, and creates an Illinois Investment Policy Board to monitor compliance with this and similar laws.

"We need to stand up to anti-Semitism whenever and wherever we see it," Rauner said.  "This historic legislation is an important first step in the fight against boycotts of Israel, and I hope other states move quickly to follow our lead. I want to thank Sen. (Ira) Silverstein, Rep. (Sara) Feigenholtz and all the sponsors of this legislation for working with our administration to take a stand against BDS."

With strong bipartisan support, including the backing of the governor and House Speaker Michael Madigan, chief sponsors Silverstein and Feigenholtz moved the bill through the General Assembly without opposition. After it passed May 18, the bill received much national and international attention.

Throughout the legislative process, the bill received strong backing from the Jewish United Fund and other Jewish groups. Among those witnessing the signing were JUF Board Chair Bill Silverstein and many members of the JUF Board, as well as members of the JUF Government Affairs Committee, Consul General of Israel for the Midwest Roey Gilad, and AJC Chicago Region Director Amy Stoken.

At the signing, JUF President Steven Nasatir said "this is an exciting and important day for us. … The effort to delegitimize the Jewish State is evil. What we have done today in our state is inspirational."

More information about SB 1761 is online here . Video of the signing ceremony is available here .


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