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Senate Passes Bill Requiring Public Entities, Higher Education to Divest From Companies Boycotting Israel

February 16, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

The Arizona Senate passed a bill requiring public entities — the meaning of which was expanded to include state universities and community college districts — to divest from companies boycotting Israel. 

Specifically, SB1250 would require public entities to take action within three months of the state treasurer releasing its restricted company list, a record of companies that boycott Israel. As AZ Free News reported last September, Treasurer Kimberly Yee announced that the state wouldn’t invest funds in the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s for its Israel boycott, which violated state law. Furthermore, under SB1250 all public entities would also be required to publish a list of investments sold, redeemed, divested, or withdrawn on its website annually. Those public entities would be indemnified and held harmless for divesting from the companies. 

About half of the Senate Democrats voted against the bill: Assistant Minority Leader Lupe Contreras (D-Avondale), Minority Whip Martin Quezada (D-Glendale) and State Senators Sally Ann Gonzales (D-Tucson), Theresa Hatathlie (D-Coal Mine Canyon), Lisa Otondo (D-Yuma), and Raquel Teran (D-Phoenix). 

The remainder of the Senate Democrats expressed support or opted not to vote at all. Minority Leader Rebecca Rios (D-Phoenix), Minority Whip Victoria Steele (D-Tucson), and State Senators Lela Alston (D-Phoenix), Sean Bowie (D-Chandler), Rosanna Gabaldon (D-Sahuarita), and Christine Marsh (D-Phoenix) voted for the bill; State Senators Juan Mendez (D-Tempe) and Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (D-Tucson) didn’t vote. 

During the Senate Finance Committee hearing last week, State Representative David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista) criticized the constituents, several of whom were college students, that claimed the state of Israel has engaged in an “apartheid regime” against the Palestinians. 

“I know what real history is, and you want to talk about apartheid let’s talk about Hitler and the Jews and the Nazis back in Germany,” said Gowan. “This movement is just another attack on the Jewish society. I mean you see it throughout history itself. It’s a horrible situation that we have to reteach, reteach, reteach because we forget about our past. But remember when you forget the past, you’re gonna repeat it. We want to stop this now so we don’t repeat our past.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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