Council for the National Interest

Anti BDS law introduced into California legislature

Jan 5 2016 / 10:20 pm

California State Assemblyman Travis Allen, who became a passionate supporter of Israel when he was in danger of losing his election, has introduced a bill that would forbid the state from doing business with companies participating in the BDS movement. This is part of a nation-wide campaign by Israel partisans.

Jerusalem Post

A Republican California assemblyman introduced a bill into the state legislature on Monday that would forbid the state – whose campuses have been a focal point of BDS activity – from doing business with companies boycotting, sanctioning or divesting from Israel.

Travis Allen, of Huntington Beach in southern California’s Orange County, introduced the bill – called the California-Israel Protection Act — to “require the State of California to divest from companies that boycott Israel.” [The current official title is AB-1551 State funds: divestment: foreign boycotts of Israel, which calls on the bill to be named “California Israel Commerce Protection Act]

Allen said in a statement that the US and Israel “have historically stood together as allies due to our unique bond founded on shared values, a bilateral trade relationship, and our unwavering commitment to freedom and democracy. Any company that is intentionally inflicting economic harm upon California’s trading partners weaken our ability to conduct business and harm the vital economic interests of our state. Further, boycotts of countries often derive from ethnic, religious, racial, or nationality discrimination, which directly contradicts the values of California citizens.”

[Ed note: Travis omits the fact that Israel is based on discrimination against the indigenous Muslims and Christians that it has steadily ethnically cleansed over the past six decades.]

The bill would also penalize companies boycotting products made in the settlements , east Jerusalem [which are illegal under international law] or the Golan Heights [which is occupied Syrian land], since it will prohibit California from investing in any company that is “engaging in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with the State of Israel or companies based in the State of Israel or in territories controlled by the State of Israel.”

Allen said it is “unconscionable for our state to do business with companies that play politics and boycott our critical allies [Israel is not an ally]. California has developed long-standing social, political, and economic partnerships with the State of Israel that should not be cast aside by politicians.”

According to Allen, in 2014 California exported over $2.3 billion in goods to Israel, making Israel the state’s 18th largest export destination, and its largest market in the Middle East.  [Israel receives over $10 million per day from American taxpayers, and many additional perks.]

South Carolina became the first US state to pass a similar bill in June, and this was followed by a bill approved by the Illinois legislature in July.

In addition, a number of other states – including Tennessee, New York, Indiana and Pennsylvania – have passed declaratory resolutions opposed to BDS.

One such resolution was passed by the Florida legislature in late December. Stating that the BDS movement “is one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitic perspectives and advocating the elimination of the Jewish State,” the resolution said the Florida House of Representatives condemns BDS and “calls upon its governmental institutions to denounce hatred and discrimination whenever they appear.”

* * *

Allen reportedly began focusing on Israel when it looked like he would lose his election. According to a 2012 column in the Orange County Weekly, since Allen was expected to lose, he anchored his campaign on an issue that most people in his district didn’t care about, “Israel, and its insatiable thirst to boot Palestinians out of the West Bank.”

The article, by  OC Weekly Editor Gustavo Arellano, went on to say: “On his issues page, Allen goes from pertinent issues (education, taxes, budget) to the non-sequitor that is Israel. ‘As part of his service,’ reads his website, ‘Travis Allen is currently running for the California Legislature to begin a career of public service which will enable him to directly impact US policy toward Israel as our most cherished ally in the Middle East, and a bastion of Democracy and Security in an increasingly hostile environment.'”

Arellano goes on to say: “Allen is no mere chicken hawk; he’s a war eagle” who believes that Israel should continue occupying and confiscating Palestinian land. “He wants a ‘unified Israel that includes Judea and Samaria, the heartland of the Jewish people, and the recognition of Jerusalem as the undivided and eternal capital.’

“Judea and Samaria, of course, is the far-right term for what the rest of the world calls the West Bank, almost universally recognized as (at worst) occupied territory taken away from and (at best) the land for a future Palestinian state.

“But not for Allen,” Arrellano continues. “He was in Israel during July hobnobbing with people who want Israel to formally declare the West Bank Israel. Check out this video of his trip, specifically around the seven-minute mark, where Allen not only shills for his Assembly campaign, but then says Israel was given to the Jews because of ‘destiny/ and their ‘divine right’ and supports Israelis who believe in a ‘manifest destiny’ for Israel–how empire-loving of him!”

Posted by on Jan 5 2016 . Filed under Boycott Divestment & Sanctions, Candidates, Commentary & Analysis, Featured articles, Israel Lobby, Politicians, Recent Legislation . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 . Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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