Californias anti-BDS bill passes Senate, moves closer to final approval

The California Senate overwhelmingly has passed a bill that would bar the state and its public agencies from contracting with businesses that boycott Israel.

AB 2844, originally authored by Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) and later sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Los Angeles), was written in response to anti-Israel BDS activity at college campuses, mainline Protestant churches and in other forums. The bill was introduced in the Assembly by Allen in January, and passed in April before moving on to the Senate, where it passed by a 34-1 vote on Aug. 24.

AB 2844 will now be sent back to be voted on by the full Assembly. Once passed, it would move on to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature to become law.

The bill’s language specifically opposing boycotts of Israel had been watered down in committee, but the bill passed by the Senate reinserted that language – reading in part that “taxpayer funds are not used to do business with or otherwise support any state or private entity that engages in discriminatory actions [including] actions taken against individuals of the Jewish faith under the pretext of a constitutionally protected boycott or protest of the State of Israel.”

“I’m pleased to see that the final legislation has been amended to reflect the original intent – that California will not support discrimination against the State of Israel with taxpayer dollars,” Allen said after the vote.

Rob Gloster

Rob Gloster z"l was J.'s senior writer from 2016-2019.