New Jersey’s legislature passed a bill on Monday that prohibits investment of state pension and annuity funds in companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses, becoming the latest state to pass a law that fights efforts to harm Israel.

The bill also requires the State Investment Council and the Director of the Division of Investment to take appropriate action to identify companies that violate the prohibition to boycott Israel and to divest any investment held in violation of the prohibition.

The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Senator James Beach (D), was introduced at the General Assembly and passed by a vote of 69-3, with two abstentions.

It was unanimously passed by the state Senate in May with a 39-0 vote.

“The State of New Jersey reaffirms its interest in viable trade and exchange with allies of the United States, and in vibrant economic partners of the United States and the State and in finding new opportunities for the State to enhance cooperation and initiatives of mutual economic benefit,” the bill states.

Governor Chris Christie is expected to sign the bill into law.

Israel and New Jersey annually trade more than $1.3 billion in goods, according to the legislation.

“It is important to the economic well-being of New Jersey that persons or entities conducting commercial trade and doing business in the State do not engage in boycotts of a legitimate and viable partner with whom New Jersey can enjoy open trade contracting,” the bill reads. “Therefore, it is in the best interest of this State that a statutory prohibition be enacted to prohibit the investment of public employee retirement funds in companies boycotting Israel.”

Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa South Carolina and Rhode Island have passed bills fighting boycotts on Israel.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed an executive order banning state agencies from investing in companies that support boycotts on Israel.

More than 20 states are considering or have passed legislation targeting companies that comply with the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, and many countries around the world have introduced and passed similar laws.

The BDS movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts against Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent struggle against the so-called “Israeli occupation.”

Critics say its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism, and its true objective is to destroy the State of Israel.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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