A new law prohibits the state of New Jersey from investing any money in companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses.
At a bill signing in the State House Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie said the state of New Jersey would not turn its back on its friend.
“And you do not join destructive movements that may only be little more — in fact I believe they’re nothing more — than veiled acts of discrimination against the state of Israel and the Jewish people,” he said.
The new law targets the “BDS movement” — boycott, divestment, and sanctions — against Israel in which private companies block commerce with the Mideastern country, usually over its conflicted relationship with neighboring Palestinians.
The law will prevent the state pension system from investing in companies that meet those criteria.
Christie said it was especially important for New Jersey to reaffirm its commitment to Israel in the face of what he called a lack of support from the Obama administration.
“People in the state of Israel and supporters of Israel here in the United States, those who do not allow themselves to be clouded by partisan concerns, understand that the last eight years have been an awful chapter in America’s support of Israel,” said Christie.
The bill had widespread bipartisan support in the state Legislature.
“I appreciate the Governor recognizing the bill as something we should do in New Jersey,” said Sen. Jim Beach, D-Camden, one of the law’s primary sponsors. “It sends a clear message to our friends in Israel that we stand with them.”
A June story in the Philadelphia Inquirer cited a state Treasury Department spokesman saying the department was not aware of any companies the state invests in that would violate the law.
New Jersey and Israel reportedly do $1.3 billion in trade each year.