In 2016, an anti-boycott bill was signed into law in New Jersey. A second bill was introduced but was not enacted.
Enacted: A925/S1923 would require New Jersey's public pension funds to divest from companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses. Governor Christie signed this bill into law on August 16, 2016.
Introduced: A2940 would prohibit public funding of colleges/universities to be directly or indirectly used to support entities and associations that support BDS.
Find out more:
Take action! via the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Share with your legislators
Palestine Legal & Center for Constitutional Rights legal memo on amended A925/S1923.
Palestine Legal & Center for Constitutional Rights notified NJ lawmakers that the anti-boycott bills are unconstitutional.
ACLU-NJ tells NJ lawmakers that S1923/A925 raises serious constitutional problems by harming free speech and using government resources to build political blacklists (June 8, 2016).
N.J. pro-Israel bills take Big Brother to the extreme by Star Ledger Editorial Board
Why New Jersey shouldn't block freedom of speech in Israeli boycott debate by Abed Awad, via New Jersey Star Ledger
Shalom: Divestment Measure: Against, via The New Jersey Record
New Jersey anti-BDS bill is an affront to the First Amendment and basic human rights, by Steve Shalom, via Mondoweiss
Bill status (updated 8/16/16): A925/S1923 passed both houses of the NJ state legislature and was signed into law by Governor Christie on August 16, 2016.
In 2015 the New Jersey legislature introduced a bill prohibiting state pensions and annuity funds from investing in companies that boycott Israel. The bill passed the senate but failed in the assembly.
The legislature also introduced a joint resolution condemning boycotts for Palestinian rights as antisemitic. The resolution was adopted in 2016.
These bills are the result of a campaign to suppress Palestine human rights activism in the U.S. Israel's interest in restricting this activism should not override our constitutional right to advocate for change.
The good news is that your right to engage in boycotts related to Israeli human rights abuses and to advocate for BDS is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. None of the bills and resolutions described here prohibit you from engaging in BDS activities.
Whatever your views on Israel and Palestine, these bills should be of concern because they threaten the rights of everyone in the U.S. to take collective action to address injustice. Moreover, we should all be alarmed that a foreign government, Israel, is lobbying U.S. politicians to restrict our rights.