Rep. Kevin Boyle Introduces Bills to Ensure Economic Support for Israel

PHILADELPHIA, April 7 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, joined with state Rep. Nick Micarelli, R-Delaware, to sponsor two pieces of legislation to ensure that Pennsylvania is using its economic power to support Israel.

Boyle said the bills would specifically prohibit the state from investing pensions or contracts with companies that engage in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The BDS movement is a global campaign designed to weaken the Israeli economy in an attempt to punish the government of the state of Israel for policy decisions it has made.

“It is vital that the government of Pennsylvania does its part to support an important US ally, Israel,” Boyle said. “Protecting Israel has been a principle of our foreign policy. Consequently, economic actions such as boycotts and divestment should not be tolerated.”

The first bill would prohibit commonwealth agencies from entering into contracts with persons who engage in boycotts against or divestment from Israel. Under this legislation, the Department of General Services would compile a list of firms and persons with stated BDS policies. The list would be updated every 180 days. DGS would also have to certify that an individual’s name does not appear on the list before a contract is signed.

The second bill would require the State Treasurer, the State Employees’ Retirement System and Public School Employees’ Retirement System to divest from companies boycotting Israel.

These state organizations would be required to identify all companies boycotting Israel in which the public fund has direct holdings, and subsequently divest from those companies.

“The goal of these bills is to prevent state money from aiding any person, business or organization participating in the BDS movement or trying to bring economic harm to Israel,” Boyle said. “I am hopeful that we can get these bills to the governor’s desk quickly so we can start helping our allies in Israel as soon as possible.