Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

New York Approves Anti-boycott Bill

The New York State Senate has approved a bill that looks to suspend funding to those educational institutions that support boycott Israel organizations

By: Graham Sigurdson

Published: January 31st, 2014 in News » World

In a 56-4 vote, the New York State Senate has approved a bill that would allow for the suspension of funds to educational institutions that support groups that boycott Israel.

The bill, although not directly mentioning Israel, specifies the organizations may not boycott “countries that host higher education institutions chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.” Notably, many New York based universities have branches/campuses in Israel.

The bill’s sponsor, state Senator Jeffrey Klein was quoted by the anti-Zionist news site Mondoweiss as making clear that the academic boycotts of Israel were what led him to introduce the bill. Specifically, Klein was quoted as saying that “I will not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York. The First amendment protects every organization’s right to speak, but it never requires taxpayers to foot the bill.”

Earlier this month, a similar bill was introduced to the State Assembly by speaker Sheldon Silver, which now has 48 sponsors among the chamber’s 150 members. Silver said that the measure was initiated “in response to the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israel and its academic institutions.”

The ASA, who was one of three U.S. academic groups to boycott Israeli academic institutions last year, stated that the legislation was an attack on free speech: “While proposed in the name of academic freedom, the bill is a direct attack on such freedom.”

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