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Overview

Arizona has an amended anti-boycott law (SB 1167) in effect, which prohibits state contracts with and state investments in entities that boycott Israel or territories occupied by Israel. It excludes sole proprietors, companies with fewer than 10 employees, and contracts worth less than $100,000. Arizona lawmakers amended the law to exclude individuals after a federal court blocked enforcement of the 2016 law (HB 2617), finding that it would likely violate the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights.

Lawmakers introduced antisemitism redefinition bills in 2020, but civil rights groups and advocates raised concerns over how the definition could be used to chill protected speech, and these bills failed to pass both houses before the end of the session.

State Legislation

Legislation
SB 1167
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
August 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts, State Investments
Full Text
Read SB 1167 

This anti-boycott law amends Arizona’s 2016 law (HB 2617) to exclude sole proprietors, companies with fewer than 10 employees, and contracts worth less than $100,000 from the prohibition on state contracts with companies that boycott Israel or territories occupied by Israel. A federal court blocked enforcement of HB 2617 in September 2018, finding that the law would likely violate the First Amendment. These amendments, which are designed to remove the plaintiffs challenging the law from its reach, may reduce the number of individuals affected by the law, but fail to resolve the underlying constitutional issues.  

The amended law leaves in place the written certification requirement for state contractors as well as the creation of a blacklist of companies in which state retirement plans are prohibited from investing.  

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 2683
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
May 2020
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HB 2683 

This antisemitism redefinition bill requires the use of a distorted definition of antisemitism in hate crimes reporting and sentencing. Criticism of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights could be used as evidence of a hate crime or result in more severe sentences. 

The bill amends Arizona law to include antisemitism as one of the categories of discrimination for which the state must collect bias crime statistics, but adopts the IHRA definition of antisemitism, including its problematic contemporary examples, which include “[a]pplying double standards [to Israel] by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” and “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” The bill requires courts to consider criticism of Israel that falls within the IHRA definition as an aggravating factor for sentencing in criminal convictions. Civil rights groups and advocates raised concerns over how the definition could be used to chill protected speech, and the bill failed to pass both houses before the end of the session. Related bill: SB 1143.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SB 1143
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
May 2020
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read SB 1143 

This antisemitism redefinition bill requires the use of a distorted definition of antisemitism in hate crimes reporting and sentencing. Criticism of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights could be used as evidence of a hate crime or result in more severe sentences. 

The bill amends Arizona law to include antisemitism as one of the categories of discrimination for which the state must collect bias crime statistics, but adopts the IHRA definition of antisemitism, including its problematic contemporary examples, which include “[a]pplying double standards [to Israel] by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” and “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” The bill requires courts to consider criticism of Israel that falls within the IHRA definition as an aggravating factor for sentencing in criminal convictions. Civil rights groups and advocates raised concerns over how the definition could be used to chill protected speech, and the bill failed to pass both houses before the end of the session. Related bill: HB 2683.

Legislation
HB 2617
Status
Struck Down by Court
Struck Down On
September 2018
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts, State Investments
Full Text
Read HB 2617 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state contracts with and state investment in entities, including sole proprietorships and non-profits, that boycott Israel or territories occupied by Israel. The bill requires contractors to sign a written certification that they do not and will not engage in boycotts of Israel. It excludes contracts worth less than $1,000 or contractors who bid at least 20% less than other bidders. The bill calls for the creation of a blacklist of companies that boycott Israel and prohibits public retirement systems from investing in these companies. It also prohibits Arizona public entities from boycotting Israel, a provision aimed at discouraging divestment campaigns at public universities.

A federal court blocked enforcement of the law in September 2018, finding the plaintiff was likely to succeed in showing that the law violates his First Amendment rights and that the state’s continued enforcement of it would cause him irreparable harm. In 2019, Arizona amended the law (SB 1167) so it no longer applied to individuals like the plaintiff. The amendments altered the prohibitions related to state contracts, leaving in place those related to state investments.

Resolutions

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SCR 1029
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
May 2018
Full Text
Read SCR 1029 

This non-binding resolution targets UN-related accountability efforts with regard to Israel’s ongoing violations of international law, repeating Israel’s claim that UN Security Council Resolution 2334 will lead to increased BDS efforts and “will provide a ‘tailwind for terror.’”UN Security Council Resolution 2334 reaffirmed that Israel’s illegal settlements constitute a flagrant violation of international law. The US broke from its practice of blocking UN accountability measures focused on Israel and abstained rather than vetoing the resolution, causing consternation among pro-Israel groups.  

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