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New Jersey Blocks BDS

July 6, 2016

“As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel because it was desolate, so I will do to you.  You will be a desolation, O Mount Seir, and all Edom, all of it.  Then they will know that I am the LORD.”‘  (Ezekiel 35:15)

Last Monday, the New Jersey General Assembly passed a law that prevents the state from financing backers of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The law will guard the state’s $71 billion pension fund and other investments from filling the annuity-and pension-fund tanks of companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses.

The Senate unanimously passed the bipartisan bill on May 9.  It was overwhelmingly passed in the Assembly on June 27 with 69 for, three against, and two abstentions.

The language of the bill recognizes the discriminatory nature of any BDS effort, stating, “Nationality-based boycott actions are often veiled discrimination, and it is against the public policy of New Jersey to support such discrimination.”

boycott, France, Israel, BDS

The Boycott Israel movement seeks to financially injure Israel by encouraging a global boycott of Israeli goods made in the disputed territories.

The bill also underscores the value of cooperation between New Jersey and Israel, citing the $1.3 billion yearly trade in goods between the two parties, and recognizing “the beneficial economic and technological value of that cooperation including for improving the competitive capabilities in global markets for both New Jersey and Israel.”

“It is important to the economic well-being of New Jersey that persons or entities conducting commercial trade and doing business in the State do not engage in boycotts of a legitimate and viable partner with whom New Jersey can enjoy open trade contracting,” the law adds. 

While a NJ Treasury Department spokesman told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he did not know of any pension funds that presently violate the new law, the legislation gives the potential offenders two years to reverse their investments.

At the national level, the US Congress has unanimously opposed Palestinian terrorism and approved various defense funding for Israel.  Yet, perhaps unbeknownst to some Congressional leaders, they have also directed millions of dollars to anti-Israel groups, according to NGO Monitor Naftali Balanson.  

The National Endowment for Democracy, for example, issues more than 1,200 grants internationally with funds from Congress.

According to Balanson, these recipients include the Human Rights and Democracy Media Center, which has accused Israel of being a “state of terrorism” that conducts “ethnic cleansing,” “targets innocent people,” and is anti-women.   It also helps to fund the Al-Dameer Association of Human Rights, which praises terrorists as “martyrs” and states that Palestinians have a “right to resist” Israel’s presence, even through terrorism.

buycott versus boycott-buy Israeli products

People around the world can help fight the boycott of Israel by deliberately buying Israeli products.

The US also funds Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), whose Facebook page hails “a new generation of Palestinians … rising up en masse against Israel’s brutal, decades-old regime of occupation, settler-colonialism, and apartheid.” 

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which also receives public funds is active on college campuses and hosts the BDS Summer Institute that focuses on “building skills for divestment campaigns.”   It also advocates for the Palestinian “Right of Return,” which would effectively cause Israel to cease as a sovereign, Jewish nation.

And the New York-based Rockefeller Brothers Fund is not entirely a private family affair.  It receives public funds while also giving funds to the JVP, AFSC, and like-minded, anti-Israel organizations as part of its “Peacebuilding and Sustainable Development” grantmaking. 

Beginning as a fringe movement, BDS has picked up steam with its call to boycott the purchase of Israeli goods produced by Jews living in Judea-Samaria or eastern Jerusalem, to withdraw investments from American companies that operate in Israel and from Israeli companies that in some way operate in the disputed territories — even the main providers of fuel, roads, security cameras, and other staples of infrastructure — and to issue sanctions against third-party companies and institutions.


Boxes of lychee fruit shipped from Israel

The BDS movement has even infiltrated and divided communities of Christians, with Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) estimated to lose more than 400,000 members in the next five years in connection with adopting BDS, according to  The Layman, a publication of the Presbyterian Lay Committee conservative advocacy group, in February. 

The Jerusalem Post notes that in 2014, PCUSA and the United Church of Christ both accused Israel of misdeeds against the Palestinians, with BDS backers at the Presbyterian Church spouting slander that Israel “poisons Palestinian livestock” and holds Palestinians under “Biblical scale enslavement.” 

Despite the Lord’s rebuke against the nations who “in their hearts … made My land their own possession” (Ezekiel 36:5), PCUSA has chosen to support “Palestinian territorial rights” in the Holy Land and condemn Israel for living in her own Biblical borders.

Sadly, Christian supporters of BDS have not learned from the prophet Balaam: when he was pressed to curse Israel he could only bless them, saying,  “How beautiful are your tents, Jacob, your dwelling places, Israel!”  (Numbers 24:5)

Unlike those who continuously want to curse Israel in her dwelling places today, Balaam recognized God’s will for His covenant people; he gave his final blessing on Israel by reciting God’s covenant promise:  “May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!”  (Numbers 24:9; see also Genesis 12:3)

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