May 30, 2017 | The Jerusalem Post

Nevada Legislature Passes Anti-BDS Law

The Nevada State Assembly unanimously passed on Wednesday a bill that would outlaw government bodies from conducting business with companies that boycott the Jewish state. Last month, the state Senate approved the same anti-BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) legislation in a 19-2 vote.

“The BDS movement focuses on discriminating against businesses, organizations, and institutions simply for exercising their right to freely associate with Israel, or for being of Jewish or Israeli heritage,” said Dillon Hosier, national director of State Government Affairs at Israeli-American Coalition for Action.

He added, “Nevada has strong economic ties with companies targeted by BDS in sectors like water sustainability, alternative energy and cyber security. Allowing BDS to infiltrate this state would greatly disenfranchise Nevadans and harm our long-term economic interests.”

The anti-BDS legislation will be sent to Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, for his approval.

Mark Hutchison, the Republican Party Nevada lieutenant governor, introduced the anti- BDS legislation while previously serving in the state Senate.

In an op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun he wrote earlier this month that the legislation will aid the state’s economy.

“Israel and Israeli companies have a competitive edge in business sectors that have proven to be significant to our diversification − water technology and UAV technology to name just two,” wrote Hutchinson. He added: “If we want Nevada to keep and develop a competitive edge, we must ensure that our state policy is welcoming to Israel and Israeli businesses.” According to the Israeli-American Coalition for Action, “since 2003, Israeli firms have invested $1.7 billion and created more than 6,100 jobs in Nevada.”

Sandoval’s expected signature to the law would make Nevada the 20th US state to ban companies from public contracts that support BDS.

Sandoval traveled to Israel in 2013 with a delegation of businessmen to boost economic ties between Israel and Nevada.

The anti-BDS legislation has garnered bipartisan support in Nevada. Writing in the Las Vegas Sun in early May, congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada) expressed her support for the bill, stating the need for the bill because the “reality is that the roots of this misguided campaign [BDS] which uses propaganda and economic pressure to sanction Israel goes as far back as 1930s Europe, when economic marginalization preluded the Holocaust.”

Rosen is a co-sponsor of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. She said: “This bill would block UN attempts to unjustly blacklist Israeli companies and make it harder to unfairly boycott Israeli products and imports.”

Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal