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Overview

Rhode Island has an anti-boycott law in effect—a 2016 measure (H7736) that prohibits state contracts with businesses engaged in discriminatory boycotts. Though clearly the target, boycotts for Palestinian rights fall outside the scope of the law’s definition of boycotts, which are limited to those based on “race, color, religion, gender, or nationality.”

State Legislation

Legislation
H 7736
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
June 2016
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read H 7736 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state contracts with businesses engaged in discriminatory boycotts based on “race, color, religion, gender, or nationality of the targeted person, firm, entity or public entity of a foreign state.” 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state contracts with businesses unless they provide a written certification that they are not and will not engage in a boycott of persons or entities based in or doing business with or agencies of “a jurisdiction with whom the state can enjoy open trade.” The bill provides exceptions for bids at least 20% less than other bids and excludes contracts worth less than $10,000. Because H7736 defines boycotts as those “based on race, color, religion, gender, or nationality” of the targeted entity, boycotts for justice fall outside its scope. 

Resolutions

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
H 5111
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
June 2017
Full Text
Read H 5111 

This non-binding resolution opposes United Nations Security Council Resolution 2234, claiming it lends legitimacy to “unjustified boycotts or divestment campaigns against Israel.” 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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