Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. (AP/Seth Perlman, File) (AP/Seth Perlman, File)
Bruce Rauner

Illinois has taken concrete, legally binding action against BDS activists who seek to delegitimize the state of Israel. The bill bans BDS participants from state pension funds.

The Illinois State House of Representatives on Monday unanimously passed a bill that prohibits state pension funds from including in their portfolios companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said on Twitter that he will sign the bill into law.

The measure’s 102-0 House passage follows its 49-0 passage in the Illinois State Senate. State legislatures in Indiana and Tennessee last month passed resolutions condemning BDS, but those measures were non-binding, as opposed to the Illinois bill’s specific economic action.

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, providing a legislative model for the rest of the country,” said Jacob Baime, executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition.

The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) said that it “strategized closely with the Governor’s Office and Sen. Ira Silverstein and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, the bill’s chief co-sponsors, to help ensure its successful passage.”

“At the core of the BDS movement is a quest to delegitimize Israel as a sovereign, democratic and Jewish state,” said JUF President Steven B. Nasatir. “This bipartisan legislation sends a strong message that Illinois will not tolerate such efforts.”