CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Delegate Kayla Kessinger, R-Fayette, today announced she will introduce legislation that would prevent the state from investing funds or entering into contracts with companies that participate in boycotts or discrimination against the nation of Israel.
Kessinger’s bill targets the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanction” movement, a globally coordinated effort to isolate Israel from the international community.
“Israel is America’s greatest ally in the Middle East, and the strongest democracy in that war-torn region,” Delegate Kessinger said. “We should not allow state funds to go to companies that want to harm our closest ally in the War on Terror.”
The bill is modeled after anti-BDS legislation that has passed in other states. It would ban the investment of government pension funds and block contracts with companies that have been identified as participants in the BDS movement.
Kessinger went on a trip to Israel last fall and said the visit inspired her to sponsor the legislation.
“In Israel, I met some of the friendliest, most compassionate people in the world – despite the fact that many live under constant risk of terrorist attack,” Delegate Kessinger said. “Whether you are a Christian, Muslim or Jew, the Israelis welcome you with open arms and embody the ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ mentality we learn in Sunday School.
“They also love America and the support we’ve given their country over the past half-century,” Delegate Kessinger said. “That’s why I want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to avoid doing business with anyone who seeks to harm this great nation.”
Kessinger said the bill will formally be introduced after the start of this year’s regular legislative session, which begins Jan. 10.