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State of Iowa lashes out at companies which boycott Israel; creates “scrutinized list” of businesses to avoid

Flag of Israel
Flag of Israel

DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad today signed a “symbolic” bill into law that forbids doing business with companies that refuse to engage in commerce with Israel.

According to the bill, the Iowa general assembly is deeply concerned and does not support boycotts and related tactics that have become a tool of economic warfare that threaten the sovereignty and security of allies and trade partners of the United States, including the state of Israel. Therefore, the general assembly intends that state funds and funds administered by the state, including public employee retirement funds, should not be invested in, and public contracts should not be entered into with, companies that refuse to engage in commerce with Israel and boycott Israel or persons doing business in Israel or territories controlled by Israel.

The legislation creates a “list” of “scrutinized” companies.

By March 1, 2017, the public fund shall make its best efforts to identify or have identified all scrutinized companies in which the public fund has direct or indirect holdings or could possibly have such holdings in the future and shall create and make available to the public a scrutinized companies list for that public fund. The public fund shall review on an annual basis and update, if necessary, the scrutinized companies list.

Iowa capitol
Iowa capitol

“Public fund” means the treasurer of state, the state board of regents, the public safety peace officers’ retirement system, the Iowa public employees’ retirement system, the statewide fire and police retirement system, or the judicial retirement system.

“Scrutinized company” means any company that publicly states it is participating in a boycott of Israel.

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