J Street supports California anti-BDS legislation

May 17, 2016

J Street opposes the Global BDS Movement, which fails to recognize Israel’s right to exist, does not support a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and works against not just the occupation but the state of Israel itself.

J Street is a pro-Israel advocacy organization, with tens of thousands of supporters in California who believe in Israel as the democratic home of the Jewish people and support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We believe the most effective way to counter the BDS Movement and its anti-Israel agenda is to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that ends Israel’s occupation of the territory it won in 1967 and results in an independent Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace and security. We see this as both a fundamental necessity for the state of Israel to remain both Jewish and democratic and as the best way to expose, isolate and defuse anti-Israel activists and initiatives around the globe.

As state legislatures consider action in opposition to the BDS Movement, J Street will support legislation that satisfies two critical concerns: (1) laws must maintain the legal distinction between the state of Israel and the territory it occupies over the Green Line; and (2) laws must uphold constitutional guarantees of free speech.

J Street supports AB 2844 as amended on April 26, pending legislation that would put California on record opposing the BDS Movement. Unlike anti-BDS bills under consideration or enacted by other states, this legislation, as amended, does not define the West Bank as part of Israel and has been drafted to ensure that only discriminatory practices that are unlawful in furtherance of boycotts will be targeted.

We support this bill though we remain concerned that the requirement that the state’s Attorney General maintain a list of companies in violation of the statute reminds us of a time when governmental lists were used to silence political opposition. Boycotts and other tactics are legitimate and protected forms of political expression. It is the Global BDS Movement and its ideology to which J Street is opposed.

J Street will continue to be an energetic and active leader in the fight for a two-state solution, offering an alternative path to a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians while strongly opposing the BDS Movement on campuses and in other forums across the country. We urge our allies in the fight against the BDS Movement to join us with equal energy in the fight to end the occupation and achieve a two-state resolution to the conflict.