Senator Phillips’ Anti-BDS Legislation Advanced Through Senate Finance Committee

Elaine Phillips

May 16, 2018

Measure Prevents State Tax Dollars From Funding Attacks Against Israel

Senator Elaine Phillips’ legislation, which would prohibit the state from contracting with or investing in any entity that promotes or engages in activities to boycott Israel and other allied nations, advanced through the Senate Finance committee this week.

“New York has no business funding an economic war against Israel, or other allied nations, by conducting business with its enemies.  It’s an inappropriate and offensive use of taxpayer dollars,” Senator Phillips said. “This measure extends existing state law to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to advance anti-Semitic, anti-freedom and anticapitalistic principles. I urge the Assembly and Governor to take action on this important bill immediately so New York can follow suit with other states and end this practice.”

The bill, S.2492, would prohibit New York State from doing business with companies that seek to harm Israel and other American allies through actions like the BDS movement, which aims to cripple the Israeli economy in protest of Israel’s domestic security policies.  This legislation would ensure that state tax dollars are not used to harm Israel and other American allies.

"Senator Phillips is a genuine friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Her successful sponsoring of anti-BDS legislation and her outright clarity on the anti-Semites who support and sponsor BDS activities is inspiring,” said Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, former CUNY Trustee, Board Member, Jewish Community Relations Council of NY and Great Neck resident.

Rabbi Shia Markowitz, former Chairman of Agudath Israel of America’s Iranian Rescue Committee said, “Elaine Phillips is a great friend of the Jewish community and a strong advocate in Albany for all the issues that are important to our community, including support for non public schools and legislation opposing BDS.  She has traveled to Israel and housed in her home children from north of Israel during the Lebanon war that were being bombed by Hamas.”  Rabbi Markowitz led the Iranian Rescue Committee for eight years helping Jewish teenagers escape Iran after the Iranian Revolution.

A number of other states adopted similar laws to prevent tax dollars from supporting BDS, including New Jersey, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.