Ohio lawmakers plan to push for legislation that opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement against Israel.
Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger announced the decision following a visit Oct. 8 from Israeli lawmaker Hilik Bar, of the Zionist Union, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“Ohio will fight BDS and boycotts against Israel,” Bar told the newspaper. “They’ve already started working on the bill, and will pass it very soon. It was a great gift to hear about it on my visit.”
Ohio’s new legislation, which reportedly will come up for a vote in the coming weeks, is expected to follow the example set by South Carolina’s anti-BDS law, which was passed last June. South Carolina’s law blocks the state from collaborating or doing business with organizations and people who support “boycott of a person or entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with whom South Carolina can enjoy open trade,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
New York and Indiana also have established anti-BDS resolutions, which are now waiting to be voted into law.
During his visit to Ohio, Bar reportedly became the first foreign parliamentarian to address the Ohio legislature. In his address to the Ohio House of Representatives on Oct. 8, Bar spoke of the threats Israel is currently facing, caused by instability in the Middle East and the increasing threat of the Iranian regime.
“Peace in the Middle East is a dream for most of its people, but it is a nightmare for the ayatollahs in Iran. Iran has an evil, cruel, morally corrupt regime,” he said, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Bar was invited to Ohio by Rosenberger and state Senate President Keith Faber. His trip was sponsored by the Israel Leadership Institute, a leadership training organization.
During his time in Ohio, Bar met with members of Ohio’s Jewish community and was awarded the “Key to the State of Ohio” an honor that also has been bestowed on former President George W. Bush, former Israeli President Shimon Peres, and Sen. John McCain.