A bipartisan bill in California to end taxpayer support for the discriminatory anti-Isarael Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been shelved, as less forceful measures work their way through committee.

Assembly Bill 1552 by California Assemblyman Travis Allen, would have prohibited state entities from contracting with parties that engage in commercial discrimination, and boycotts on the basis of national origin, and sought to end the practice of California supporting such discriminatory or anti-Semitic efforts.

“Rather than promoting peace, the BDS movement denies the right of the Jewish State to exist, regularly employing tactics designed to harm Israel,” said Allen in an exclusive interview in January.

BDS in the California University System And Beyond

“Student organizations and university departments co-sponsor seemingly reputable panels of scholars who distort international law and facts to make accusations against Israel,” says StandWithUs, an organization dedicated to combating the extremism and anti-Semitism on campus. “The insidious, growing boycott, divestment and sanctions movement absurdly claims that Israel practices apartheid, and portrays Israel as so evil that it should be treated as the pariah of nations,” StandWithUs says.

Acting on their own political agenda, radical left teachers and some students now openly advocate for BDS, and often turn their hate toward individual Jewish students and faculty:

  •  California’s public employee pension systems, CalPERS and CalSTRS, have made deliberate investments in companies that boycott or engage in political or economic discrimination against Israel. Both retirement systems even buckled under activist pressure. Following a 2013 “Israel Divestment Campaign (IDC) petition presentation, CalPERS initiated a yearlong series of discussions with IDC and began its own policy-driven ‘engagement process’ with two of the five companies targeted by IDC: Elbit Systems Ltd. and Veolia Environnement.”
  • Student governments at UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UC Irvine have endorsed divestment and sanctions of Israel.
  • Teaching assistants, tutors, and other student-workers at the University of California represented by UAW 2865, a labor union, voted to join the BDS movement.
  • The system-wide University of California Student Association approved a resolution calling on the UC Regents “to divest from corporations complicit in violations of Palestinians’ human rights.” Then the statewide student government went even further, endorsing a second resolution urging the university “to divest from national governments it describes as being “engaged in human rights abuses and violence,” including not only the government of Israel, but also those of Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Sri Lanka — and the United States.”
  • The ASUCD senate at UC Davis passed Senate Resolution #9 calling for the University of California Board of Regents to divest from “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, violating both international humanitarian law and international human rights.”
  • Immediately following the ASUCD resolution passage, Jewish students at the University of California at Davis awoke to find swastikas spray-painted on their fraternity house, Breitbart reported. The ASUCD meeting was attended by over 550 UC Davis students, staff and faculty members. The resolution was sponsored by the anti-Israel advocacy group Students for Justice in Palestine. Pro-Israel students were seen walking out of the meeting.
  • A student at UCLA, who also works for UCLA, recently made vile, horrific anti-Semitic comments on a Facebook post by UCLA alumna Hollywood actress Mayim Bialik, reported in The Daily Bruin, Dec. 26, 2015. Her tamer comments included calling Jewish people “troglodyte albino monsters of cultural destruction” and “capitalist colonizers.” UCLA officials did nothing. Imagine the “hate crime” accusations if the same comments had been made about an African American, Middle Eastern or Latina student or alumna.
  •  Members of the University of California-Santa Cruz student government strong-armed a Jewish student representative into not voting on an anti-Israel divestment resolution, because they believed the rep harbored an unhealthy “Jewish agenda” on campus, Campus Reform reported.
  •  A Jewish student at UCLA was initially denied a student government position over concerns that she would be ‘unable to maintain an unbiased view’ because she was “a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community.”
  • At a Stanford University ASSU Senate meeting just last week, a Stanford senator running for reelection argued that it is not anti-Semitic to question whether Jewish people control the media and banks, the Stanford Review reported.

Some Jewish scholars say the BDS movement is an outcome of the New Left’s dominance in American academia, especially Middle East Studies. “Many academic associations are moving ahead with efforts to impose full economic and academic boycotts of Israel, including barring their colleagues (who may not share their alacrity for anti-Zionism) from collaborating with Israeli scholars,” wrote A.J. Caschetta, a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum and a senior lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

In California, considered ground zero for BDS anti-Semitism, state universities have the most episodes of anti-Semitism on American campuses. Some of the same college groups supporting a boycott of Israel refused to boycott ISIS.

Strong Anti-BDS Bill Watered Down

AB 1552 was a response not only to the campus BDS actions, but also to the worldwide economic movement against Israel. Economic boycotts of Jews predates even the creation of Israel, and continued starting in the 1940s to the present through the Arab League boycott.

“California strongly opposes discrimination,” Allen said. “Of particular concern lately is the fact that boycotts of entities and individuals affiliated with specific countries can amount to ethnic, religious, racial and/or national origin discrimination.”

“No group better demonstrates this fact than the BDS movement, whose use of false, demonizing and delegitimizing propaganda against the State of Israel has become a pretext for the expression of anti-Jewish bigotry,” added Allen.

AB 1552 is a good and necessary bill, but the opposition is surprising: At the behest of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, the Senate Rules Committee has been sitting on Assemblyman Allen’s bill since January, preventing it from advancing.

And then in April, his bill was hijacked by the Jewish Caucus, which wasn’t happy with Allen’s authoring the bill without consulting them first. It was an odd reaction, because the Jewish Caucus did not have any anti-BDS legislation in the pipeline, and I’m told, had no plans for any such legislation.

The Jewish Caucus had proposed amendments to Allen’s bill, all of which he accepted. He then tried to get the bill moved on to legislative committees for hearings, but the Jewish Caucus continued to sit on it, leaving AB 1552 stalled and stuck on a shelf in the Rules Committee since January.

The hijacking occurred as the Jewish Caucus gutted and amended another bill, stealing some of the language of Assemblyman Allen’s, then writing their own watered-down version.

Why would the California Legislative Jewish Caucus work so hard to kill the bill?

“They try make believe that the BDS vile anti-Israel, bordering anti-Semitism, activities and propaganda, which could be equated to anti every Jew behavior, all in the name of their end goal to do what they can to harm the Jewish state, now flooding all of California’s campuses and is even trickling into high-schools yards and text books, is a non-exiting issue,” Nurit Greenger wrote in March in the Jerusalem Post about Allen’s bill. “Well it is. These Jewish politicians denial is inexplicable when the citizens of Israel who get the brunt of the BDS are part of who they are, JEWS! From where I am, it seems as if the end goal of these legislators is the same as of those who support the BDS, and that is to do what they can to harm the Jewish state.”

In the new bill analysis by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, they latch onto the anti-Israel “End the Occupation” group’s tactic to question First Amendment issues:

​”This analysis, however, deals with a different issue: whether the provisions of this bill would likely violate the First Amendment. Not surprisingly, proponents of the bill seem quite certain that it does not violate the First Amendment; while opponents are equally certain that it does. This analysis presumes that matters of constitutional law are rarely if ever certain. It concludes that the bill in print raises very serious and possibly insurmountable First Amendment concerns; however, it also concludes that if the bill were amended to focus on discriminatory “practices,” as opposed to boycotts, it would be more likely to withstand a First Amendment challenge.​”​

They also wrote amendments to the bill, including putting in a monetary limit, justifying examination in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where all good bills go to get killed in the Democrat-dominated California Legislature. ​From their amendment: This bill would “​prohibit a company participating in a boycott against Israel from bidding on a contract with any public agency if the contract is valued at more than $10,000.​”

In other words, the version currently working its way through the system is a watered down version of AB1552.

[Featured Image: UC Davis SJP Shouts Down Israeli Diplomat George Deek]