Ohio House of Representatives approves anti-BDS bill
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Ohio House of Representatives approves anti-BDS bill

(JTA) — The Ohio House of Representatives approved a bill targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The bill passed Wednesday by a vote of 81-13. Five members did not vote.

The legislation would prohibit the state from contracting with companies that engage in boycotts of Israel, including companies located outside of the state. It also would require companies to explicitly state in contracts that they are not boycotting or divesting from Israel, according to the Cleveland Jewish News.

States that have passed anti-BDS legislation include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and South Carolina.

“Next stop: Ohio Senate,” Howie Beigelman, the executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities, said in an email announcing the win. He also thanked the broad coalition of activists who helped get the bill passed, including Jewish and Christian groups, the business community and student Hillel groups across the state “who often feel the first brunt of BDS activity.”

The ACLU of Ohio in a statement called the legislation “an unwarranted attack on First Amendment rights as it severely restricts the right to speak out or take action based on political beliefs.”

“On its face, HB 476 is simple, but the ramifications are far-reaching, troublesome, and potentially unconstitutional,” said Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist at the ACLU of Ohio. “This legislation places zero limits on what types of policies, laws or actions of the Israeli government are subject to this boycott ban. This could have broad implications for those who wish to divest for economic reasons such as new tariffs or boycott based on their political beliefs.”