The Arkansas State Legislature voted on several new laws back in March 2017, including the law that requires that contractors bidding on state jobs sign a pledge stating that they are not boycotting Israel. Act 710 of 2017 was sent to the state House of Representatives in 2017 and passed in a 69-3 vote.
According to the law, “Boycotts and related tactics have become a tool of economic warfare that threaten the sovereignty and security of key allies and trade partners of the United States.” The law also states that, “Companies that refuse to deal with United States trade partners such as Israel, or entities that do business with or in such countries, make discriminatory decisions on the basis of national origin that impair those companies’ commercial soundness.”
Israel and Arkansas have been great allies and even greater business partners. The legislature didn’t want to jeopardize that relationship. They wanted to send a strong message that Arkansas will not tolerate or support discrimination of any kind. “Congress has concluded as a matter of national trade policy that cooperation with Israel materially benefits United States companies and improves American competitiveness,” the law says.
The law defines a “boycott of Israel” as “engaging in refusals to deal, terminating business activities, or other actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories, in a discriminatory manner.”
Arkansas isn’t the only state who has passed this law; Illinois was the first back in March 2016 and several others have followed suit.