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Overview

Illinois has an anti-boycott law in effect that calls for the creation of a blacklist of companies that boycott Israel or territories occupied by Israel, and prohibits state pension funds from investing in blacklisted companies. Illinois became the first state to enact anti-boycott legislation in 2015. Lawmakers have introduced other anti-boycott bills and resolutions that have been defeated, and an antisemitism law is currently pending.

State Legislation

Legislation
HB 4049
Status
Pending
Introduced
January 2020
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HB 4049 

This antisemitism redefinition bill amends provisions of the state’s Human Rights Act applicable to public schools and universities to adopt a distorted definition of antisemitism that could encompass any and all criticism of Israel, circumscribing protected political speech activities. The bill makes it a civil rights violation for schools to fail to treat antisemitic discrimination in the same way as race discrimination, and defines antisemitism to include criticism of Israel, such as: “Applying a double standard to the State of Israel by requiring behavior of the State of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or focusing peace or human rights investigations only on the State of Israel.”

Legislation
SB 1761
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
July 2015
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Investments
Full Text
Read SB 1761 

This anti-boycott law requires the creation of a state-run blacklist of foreign companies that boycott Israel and “territories controlled by Israel,” and compels the state’s pension fund to divest from and prohibit investment in those companies. Related bills: HB 4011

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 4015
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read HB 4015 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state agencies from entering into or renewing contracts with entities that boycott Israel or other jurisdictions with which Illinois is not prohibited from doing business. Contractors must provide a written certification that they do not and will not engage in boycotts for the duration of the contract. 

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 4011
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Investments
Full Text
Read HB 4011 

This anti-boycott bill requires the creation of a state-run blacklist of foreign companies that boycott Israel and “territories controlled by Israel,” and compels the state’s pension fund to divest from and prohibit investment in those companies. Its companion bill (SB 1761) was passed into law in 2015.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SB 3017
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2015
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, Defunding
Full Text
Read SB 3017 

This anti-boycott defunding bill amends the Board of Higher Education Act to prohibit public universities from using state funds to subsidize academic activities (including membership, travel, lodging for meetings) related to entities that endorse or engage in boycotts of member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Universities in violation of the prohibition are not eligible for state aid during the same academic year. The bill was introduced following the American Studies Association’s endorsement of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

Resolutions

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SJR 59
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2015
Full Text
Read SJR 59 

This senate joint resolution condemns academic boycotts of Israeli institutions, stating they unfairly single out Israel and raise questions of antisemitism. The resolution calls on university presidents to condemn academic boycotts as a threat to academic freedom.

Local Legislation

Legislation
Res 15-4701
Locality
Cook County
Status
Passed
Date Passed
July 2015
Full Text
Read Res 15-4701 

Citing the 2015 Illinois anti-boycott law (SB 1761), this non-binding resolution from the Cook County Board of Commissioners urges the County Employees’ and Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Cook County and the Forest Preserve District Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Cook County to divest from foreign companies that engage in boycotts for Palestinian rights

Legislation
R2015-569
Locality
Chicago
Status
Passed
Date Passed
September 2015
Full Text
Read R2015-569 

Citing the 2015 Illinois anti-boycott law (SB 1761), this non-binding city council resolution urges the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago to divest from foreign companies that engage in boycotts of Israel. The resolution falsely links boycotts for Palestinian rights with growing antisemitism. 

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