Coalition of Pro-Israel Organizations Applaud New Bill Introduced in House to Protect U.S. Businesses from BDS Pressure
Press Release – For Immediate Release
June 18, 2018
WJC Media Contact
Director of Public Relations
The World Jewish Congress (WJC), The Lawfare Project, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Israeli-American Coalition for Action (IAC for Action), and a range of other pro-Israel organizations today applauded the introduction of the Export Administration Anti-Discrimination Act (EAADA) in the House of Representatives. Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06) introduced the bill last Wednesday with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06) as a co-sponsor.
The bill will provide a long overdue update of anti-discrimination protections codified in the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA), which prevents foreign entities from pressuring U.S. corporations to comply with boycotts of U.S. allies, including the State of Israel. It will also update and strengthen enforcement of the 1979 law by creating a private right of action for those harmed by unlawful boycotts.
Just as the 1979 legislation protected U.S. companies from pressure to engage in the Arab League Boycott, the 2018 EAADA will protect companies from discrimination and targeting at the hands of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, a more recent effort to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel and its supporters. Other Jewish and pro-Israel organizations supporting the bill include the American Jewish Congress, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), and Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.
WJC President Ronald Lauder said, "I would like to thank Congressman Ron DeSantis and Chairman Bob Goodlatte for putting forward this important legislation that will combat the BDS movement, which is rearing its ugly head all over the world. The legislation being advanced does not in any way infringe one’s right to free speech, but it does ensure that those who engage in commercial discrimination on the basis of someone's national origin will face consequences for that repugnant behavior. I urge members of both parties to sign onto this bill to assure its passage and enactment into law."
Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, said, "Today hate groups are gathering under the banner of the BDS campaign to unlawfully target companies and individuals with ties to Israel and the Jewish community all across the United States. Congress needs to act. This bill is a commonsense way of improving and better enforcing current laws to protect Americans from discrimination. The EAA was passed nearly 40 years ago. This bill updates that important legislation to provide clarity and close loopholes that prevent discriminatory boycotts targeting American allies like Israel."
Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, noted that there have been ongoing calls for companies to engage in discriminatory boycotts targeting those who do business with Israel. This led many states, including California, New Jersey, and Texas, to enact anti-BDS laws that prohibit state contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel.
"At the federal level, legal protections fall short," Hoenlein said. "Now is the time for the federal government to take action to safeguard our business interest and those of our friends and allies worldwide."
The IAC for Action, which has led efforts to pass anti-BDS legislation in California, Nevada, and Texas, praised Reps. DeSantis and Goodlatte for the bill.
IAC for Action Chairman Shawn Evenhaim said, "The IAC for Action strongly supports the Export Administration Anti-Discrimination Act (EAADA). Israel and America have a strong relationship based on our shared values of democracy and freedom. As Israeli-Americans, we understand how important it is to protect American businesses from foreign groups that demonize Israel, America's strongest ally in the Middle East, just as we work to pass laws that protect everyday Americans from having their tax dollars support the discriminatory, hateful campaign that demonizes the Jewish state, often with anti-Semitic propaganda."
About The Lawfare Project: Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities in the U.S.
About The World Jewish Congress: The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.