Ohio legislators put forward bill condemning the BDS movement
A group of legislators in the Ohio House of Representatives are looking to pass a bill condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that undermines the nation of Israel.
The bill, House Concurrent Resolution 10, voices the House’s support for Israel as “the greatest friend and ally of the United States in the Middle East” and warns of anti-Semitism increasing around the globe. The bill also states that the goal of BDS is for Israel to cease to exist and that the movement has “increased animosity and intimidation against Jewish students” on college campuses.
“The members of the General Assembly condemn the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and its activities in Ohio for legitimizing anti-Semitism and for seeking to undermine the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, which they are fulfilling in the State of Israel,” the bill reads.
The bill also encourages college campuses to shield Jewish students from “anti-Semitic actions and intimidation” and to ensure that free speech is protected on campus.
Rep. Andrew Thompson (R-Marietta), a supporter of the bill, told reporters in front of the Ohio Statehouse that BDS focuses on “wiping Israel off the map.”
“If we don’t stand strongly and firmly against that, if we do not insist that our campuses protect the rights of Jewish students and allies of Israel, we could potentially face much darker outcomes,” said Thompson.
Back in December, Ohio became the 14th state in the country to prevent the state government from granting contracts to companies that boycott Israel. There was also an effort to get Ohio State University to divest from companies that do business with Israel, but that effort was shot down in March.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has described BDS as engaging in “the demonization and delegitimization of Israel” and is inherently anti-Semitic.
“Many individuals involved in BDS campaigns are driven by opposition to Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state,” the ADL states on its website. “Often time, BDS campaigns give rise to tensions in communities – particularly on college campuses – that can result in harassment or intimidation of Jews and Israel supporters, including overt anti-Semitic expression and acts. This dynamic can create an environment in which anti-Semitism can be express more freely.”
A 2016 Brandeis University study found that the BDS movement was a key factor behind an increase in anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses that year. The amount of BDS activity on college campuses declined in 2017, but their campaigns have become “more sophisticated and aggressive,” according to Israel on Campus Coalition.