Texas state agencies divesting $72 million from company that boycotts Israel


(JTA) — State agencies in Texas have started to divest some $72 million worth of stock in a company that boycotts Israel to comply with a 2017 law.

The measure bans the state from doing business with companies that observe the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

Two state pension funds — the Employees Retirement System of Texas and Texas Permanent School Fund — own $68 million and $4 million, respectively, worth of stock in DNB ASA, a Norwegian financial services company, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

The company has denied it boycotts Israel.

There are four companies on the state comptroller’s blacklist of companies that boycott Israel, the newspaper reported. The companies all deny such a boycott.

The Employees Retirement System told the Express-News that as of early April it had divested about half of its holdings in DNB ASA and that divestment should be complete by June.

The Texas comptroller in March blacklisted Airbnb for its decision to remove listings of rooms and homes for rent in West Bank Jewish settlements. The company has since walked back its decision.

Earlier this month Texas lawmakers offered an amendment to the law to exempt individuals and businesses valued at less than $100,000 or employing fewer than 10 full-time employees from the ban. The amendment was in response to legal challenges.

At least 26 states in recent years have passed similar laws punishing businesses that choose to boycott Israel.

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