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Pennsylvania Senate Passes “Stand With Israel Act”

By a 41-7 vote, the Pennsylvania Senate passed the “Stand With Israel Act” that prohibits holdings in the PA State Treasury or Commonwealth pension funds from boycotting or divesting from Israel and companies doing business with Israel.

While the legislation has no impact on investment decisions made in the advancing of the financial position of the funds, it does discourage the Keystone State’s institutions of higher learning from boycotting or divesting from Israel by withholding state funding from any institution that does so.

“Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East, and it’s important for Pennsylvania to show our steadfast support,” tweeted State Treasurer Stacy Garrity. “I congratulate the Senate for passing the Stand with Israel Act with such a strong majority (and) urge the House of Representatives to consider it without delay and send this bill to Governor Shapiro for his signature.”

Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York), one of the co-sponsors of the bill, said on the Senate floor that “The United States of America has always stood with Israel. President Harry Truman was the first world leader to recognize Israel as an independent state more than 76 years ago. Since then, we have been Israel’s largest global trading partner and when Israel needed its number one ally most, we were there.

“I don’t think anyone in this chamber opposes freedom of religious expression. This chamber was unified when we said that the First Amendment right does not end when an educator enters a classroom and wishes to wear a religious emblem of his or her faith. But where we draw the line is when we call for the entire eradication of a group of people based simply on their religion.

“Let me be clear. Antisemitism in any form must never be tolerated. These protesters want to threaten and bully the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and colleges across the state to divest its investments in Israel. We will continue to stand for religious toleration as a Commonwealth the way our founder, William Penn, intended and stand against antisemitism.”

Fellow co-sponsor Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) agreed.

“The United States and our Commonwealth have long stood in support of Israel and the Jewish people,” he said. “Now, at a time when antisemitism is on the rise here at home and around the globe, we must remain steadfast in our support for our democratic ally in the Middle East and reject calls to boycott or divest from Israel.”

Six Democrats and one Republican voted no to the bipartisan bill – Sens. Nikil Saval (D-Philadelphia), Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/ Philadelphia), Anthony Williams (D-Delaware/Philadelphia), Jarrett Coleman (R-Lehigh), Tim Kearney (D-Delaware), Lindsey Williams (D-Allegheny), and Katie Muth (D-Berks/Chester/ Montgomery).

Also on Thursday, the majority of University of Pennsylvania students who voted in a student referendum organized by the Muslim Student Association voted in favor of divesting from Israel, according to results released by the Nominations & Elections Committee.

In response, Interim Penn President Larry Jameson stated that “Penn does not support boycotts, divestment, or sanctions against Israel” in an email confirmed by a University spokesperson.

Senate Bill 1260 will now move to the state House for consideration.

3 Responses

  1. Thank you, state senators for standing with our ally Israel! The displays of antisemitism on college campuses and universities across the US is very disturbing.

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