Ohio Senate approves anti-BDS bill


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Ohio Senate approved a bill targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, all but assuring it will become law.

The bill passed Thursday by a vote of 26-5 and now awaits Gov. John Kasich’s signature. The state’s House of Representatives passed the measure last month.

The legislation prohibits the state from contracting with companies that engage in boycotts of Israel, including firms 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.

The ACLU of Ohio has 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.”

Howie Beigelman, the executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities, in an email announcing the passage thanked the broad coalition of activists who pushed the measure.

“In addition to Ohio Jewish Communities and the eight Jewish federations statewide, the coalition included an array of Jewish groups, human rights and civil liberties advocates, Christian supporters of Israel, and business and civic leaders,” he said.

Campus Hillel chapters in the state also campaigned for the bill.

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