Last week, Iowa joined the ranks of states that have passed legislation to put a stop to the anti-Israel Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions Movement.
House File 2331, which passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in late February with a veto-proof supermajority, was adopted by the Democrat-controlled Senate by a 38-9 margin. It has been sent to Gov. Terry Branstad for his consideration.
HF 2331 applies to the state treasurer, Iowa Board of Regents, Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System and other state pension funds. It also prohibits public entities from entering into contracts of $1,000 or more with companies that participate in BDS activities.
The Iowa Senate took the additional step of adopting a resolution "in support of the Jewish State of Israel," and for a "negotiated settlement resulting in a Palestinian State." Resolutions are traditionally adopted by voice vote.
Typically, battles over legislation in the Iowa Statehouse evolve over party lines, but HF 2331 exposed fault lines within the Democrat majority, which has a slim two-seat advantage in the Senate. Those who voted against the measure did so because they said it would be costly for the state's universities to obey.
"The people of Iowa have a lot to be proud of today," the Israel Project CEO Josh Block said after the Senate vote. "By resoundingly declaring that BDS discrimination has no place in the Hawkeye state, the state legislature took an affirmative stand to ensure no taxpayer money is used to espouse anti-Semitism."
According to the Des Moines Register, Israel has imported nearly $500 million in goods from Iowa since 1996. That makes it the Hawkeye State's 34th largest international trading partner.
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