New York State Senate Takes Action To Prevent New York State From Supporting Boycotts Used To Harm Israel And Other U.S. Allies

John J. Flanagan

June 06, 2018

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) has announced that the New York State Senate has passed a measure to expand upon existing protections against state funds being used to support efforts to harm Israel and other American allies through boycotts and discriminatory economic agendas.  The bill, sponsored by Senator Elaine Phillips (7th Senate District), expands existing state law to prevent New York from entering into a state contract or investment with those seeking to economically harm American allies.

“Israel is one of our nation’s strongest allies in the world, and our allies must be assured that our nation and state will stand by them.  This legislation will demonstrate that while also showing the world that our state will never stand for anti-Semitism in any form.  I thank Senator Phillips for putting forth this bill and look forward to its becoming law in New York,” stated Senator Flanagan.

Senator Phillips said, “New York has no business funding an economic war against Israel, or other allied nations, by conducting business with its enemies.  It is an inappropriate and offensive use of taxpayer dollars.  This measure extends existing state law to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to advance anti-Semitic, anti-freedom and anti-capitalistic 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.”

Current New York State law prohibits the State from directly engaging in an international boycott against American-allied nations.  New York City has a similar prohibition as part of its administrative code. However, the state could indirectly support a boycott of American allies by providing state monies to businesses, individuals or organizations that participate in boycotts like the BDS movement aimed at causing economic harm to Israel and the Israeli people.

The measure (S2492A) expands New York’s law by prohibiting state contracting with, or state investment in businesses or individuals that promote or engage in activities to boycott, sanction, or divest in Israel and other American allied nations.  The state would use publicly available information to develop a reference list of companies, organizations, or other entities that have engaged in or promoted boycotts of American allies.  New Jersey, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina have adopted similar laws to ensure that their taxpayers are not paying to support these entities.

The bill will be sent to the Assembly.