RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- North Carolina could be one of a growing list of states publicly declaring support for Israel and legislating punitive measures against those boycotting the Jewish State.
House Bill 161, "Divestment from Companies That Boycott Israel," was filed last month and currently has 37 sponsors. The bipartisan proposal would require state institutions to cease all contracts with companies that boycott Israeli companies and/or products made in Israel. The bill would also prohibit any future work with those companies.
The General Assembly approved the bill Wednesday and sent it to Governor Cooper.
Seventeen other states have passed similar legislation, which proponents argue is an effective way to combat the tactic of the "BDS" movement, which stands for boycott, divest and sanction. Supporters of BDS, including activist Linda Sarsour, insist the campaign against Israeli companies, products, universities, and academics, is a non-violent protest against Israel for "occupying and colonizing Palestinian land," according to the movement's website.
Opponents of BDS, however, argue the movement is cover for the delegitimization of Israel as a country, and can lead to anti-Semitism.
The bill's language includes such condemnation, saying "Companies that refuse to deal with United States trade partners such as Israel, or entities that do business with or in such countries, make discriminatory decisions on the basis of national origin."
Several North Carolina companies in the private sector work with Israeli companies, especially in research and technology.
The other states which have previously passed anti-BDS legislation are Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.