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PA-8: Santarsiero Introduces Bill to Protect Israel From Divestment Movement (VIDEO)

State Rep. Steve Santarsiero is taking a leap into foreign policy.

The lawmaker announced a new bill he is introducing that would protect Israel from boycotting efforts.

Recently, a number of universities have been pressured by their student bodies to divest any financial support or cooperation with the Israeli nation. These student movements believe this action is necessary due to Israeli policies towards the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Divestment is a popular strategy among student activists and is most famous for the 1980’s campaign that convinced colleges and businesses to abandon the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Suffice to say, Israelis are not happy about being compared to a segregationist government.

Santarsiero’s legislation, HB 1018, would barr state funds for any university in PA that agrees to a boycott, divestment or sanction.

“Unfortunately, there is a growing – and alarming – trend on some college and university campuses to launch politically motivated attacks with the intent of pressuring these institutions to engage in boycotts against or divestment from Israel,” Santarsiero stated at a press conference. “The state of Israel is the only dependable, democratic ally of the United States in the Middle East. As such, it is in the interest of this commonwealth to promote America’s close ties with Israel.”

“This legislation would not ban open debate or free speech. It merely creates consequences should schools succumb to political pressure to harm Israel,” he explained.

Among Santarsiero and his colleagues, the press event also featured representatives from the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

“Simply put, my legislation would make sure our commonwealth is not a party to the corrosive actions of the BDS movement,” Santarsiero concluded. “I am proud to have broad bipartisan support for this measure and look forward to working together with the co-sponsors and the Jewish Federations to get this passed.”

State Rep. Santarsiero is running for Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District, which represents all of Bucks County and part of Upper Montgomery County. Santarsiero is facing a challenge in the Democratic primary from chemist and 2014 candidate Shaughnessy Naughton. The seat is being vacated by retiring Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.

8 Responses

  1. This bill flies in the face of a just, appropriate way of pushing back at the “state of Israel”. How else do we fight the cruel oppression, occupation, and apartheid that is being committed by this outlaw state other than boycotting, divesting, and sanctioning it? Certainly, our so-called “representatives” who accept bucketfuls of money from the likes of Adelson and AIPAC are going to turn a blind eye to any and all vile injustices committed by Israel, and our American news outlets will be as biased as always in reporting Israeli atrocities, so where else then can we turn to expose and penalize Israel for the unjust slaughter and stealing of land and resources of everybody who isn’t Jewish! Free Palestine!!! Support the BDS Movement!!!

  2. The bill has merit. It should be considered and debated and I think totally proper under the circumstances that Israel now finds itself with a President that has been the most anti-Israel since it’s creation. Obama will be remembered for making enemies of our friends and friends of our enemies, with a foreign policy that can only be described as “incoherent” at best.

  3. Thumbs down on Santarsiero’s HB 1018. It’s an attempt to intimidate opponents of the oppressive Zionist state. Apartheid may be dead in South Africa – but it’s alive and well in Occupied Palestine and Gaza. Students and colleges that spearhead the divestment movement deserve support – not government intimidation.

  4. If he really wants to show his support for Israel he could publicly denounce the leader of his party (Obama) for the shoddy treatment he has shown the people and leaders of Israel. The fact that he supported Mr. Obama twice negates any of this current pandering.

  5. @ Chris
    I don’t mind the pandering. At least it was an original idea. Unlike Boyle who never had an original thought in his life. Santaserio lucky to get this legislation drafted before Boyle could steal it and take credit for it.

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