Arkansas lawmakers vote to ban boycott of Israel


(JTA) — The Arkansas state legislature has passed a bill that prohibits state agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel.

The bill was sent to Arkansas State Gov. William Hutchinson on Friday for his signature.

It passed the state House of Representatives on Wednesday in a 69-3 vote. Earlier in the month, the state Senate voted 29-0 for the measure with one abstention.

The bipartisan legislation to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement agaisnt Israel was sponsored by state Rep. Jim Dotson and state Sen. Bart Hester.

“Israel and Arkansas are great friends, and I thank the people of Arkansas for supporting this essential relationship, which is based on shared values,” Josh Block, president and CEO of The Israel Project, said in a statement. “By passing this bill today, Arkansans are standing strong against discrimination, and are solidly on the right side of history.”

More than a dozen U.S. states have passed similar legislation.

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