(JTA) — The New Jersey Senate unanimously approved a bill that would require the state’s public worker pension fund to divest from companies that boycott Israel.
The bill bars the state Division of Investments from investing the public workers’ $68.6 billion pension fund in any company “that boycotts the goods, products, or businesses of Israel, boycotts those doing business with Israel, or boycotts companies operating in Israel or Israeli-controlled territory.”
It also requires the fund to divest from any companies participating in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel within 18 months of the passage of the legislation.
“The activities of any company solely providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people through either a governmental or non-governmental organization shall not render the company subject to the provisions of this act unless it is also engaging in the prohibited boycotts or otherwise discriminating against goods, products, or businesses of Israel, or entities operating in Israel or Israeli-controlled territory,” the bill reads.
New Jersey, which has a large Jewish population, trades more than $1.3 billion in goods each year with Israel, according to NewJersey.com.
The state already prohibits the pension fund from investing in businesses with ties to Northern Ireland, Sudan and Iran, according to the news website.
If the Assembly passes the bill, it will go to Gov. Chris Christie for his signature.
Several states have passed anti-BDS legislation, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and South Carolina. In total, 21 states have taken up anti-BDS legislation.