The Georgia Senate voted 45-6 Friday, Feb. 26, to bar the state government from doing business with any boycotters of Israel.
Senate Bill 327 makes Georgia one of more than a dozen states that are considering some form of legislative response to the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. South Carolina and Illinois passed laws last year that effectively boycott the boycotters.
Under S.B. 327, introduced by Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta), a company or individual seeking a procurement contract worth at least $1,000 with any state agency would have to certify playing no part in a boycott of Israel.
The legislation defines “boycott of Israel” as any action meant to limit commercial relations with Israel or with those doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories.
In presenting S.B. 327 on the Senate floor, Hill said the growing effort to boycott Israeli-made products “discriminates against Israel and Jews, and I believe that’s wrong.”
He cited Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Motorola as examples of the high-tech companies that use components or concepts developed in Israel.
No one else spoke about the bill. Democrats Gail Davenport of Jonesboro, Ed Harbison of Columbus, Harold V. Jones II of Augusta, David Lucas of Macon, Valencia Seay of Riverdale and Freddie Powell Sims of Dawson cast the only no votes.
Americans for Peace Now is among left-leaning groups opposing such state legislation for offering anti-boycott protection to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
The bill has about two weeks to win passage in the House before the General Assembly session ends.
Hill and co-sponsor Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Smyrna) had less success with a proposed constitutional amendment to bar state retirement funds from investing in nations that sponsor terrorism or companies that do business with such nations. S.R. 725, intended as a permanent replacement for an expired law barring state investment in Iran, stalled in committee.