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Point of View: Proposed legislation shows support for Israel

Rep. Mark McBride
Rep. Mark McBride

Israel has long been one of this nation’s greatest allies and a prominent trading partner. As a Christian, I believe Israel has a unique covenant relationship with the God I serve. The Bible is clear: Those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed.

And yet there is a pro-Palestinian movement that advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against entities that choose to do business with Israel. This movement seeks to pressure Israel to change its approach to Palestinians. Given the climate in our Congress, in which we have members who are actively anti-Israel, and the tensions in the Middle East with Iran, which has publicly stated it would like to wipe Israel off the map, it compels us to take a greater stand to protect our ally.

That’s why I filed House Bill 3967 this year that would declare Israel a prominent trading partner and that the state, and those companies that do business by and through the state, in the interest of the state's economic policy, should not boycott trade with Israel.

Every year, the Oklahoma House of Representatives adopts a resolution affirming our stand with Israel. Resolutions, however, have little force of law. I want a piece of legislation that carries more weight.

My bill is modeled after legislation adopted by 26 other states, including our neighbor Kansas.

My legislation specifies companies refusing to deal with U.S. trade partners, such as Israel, make discriminatory decisions on the basis of national origin that impair those companies' commercial soundness. Israel is known for its dynamic and innovative approach in many business sectors. A company's decision to discriminate against persons or entities doing business in Israel or in territories controlled by Israel is an unsound business practice, and makes the company an unduly risky contracting partner. It also is the public policy of the United States, as enshrined in several federal acts, to oppose such boycotts. Congress has concluded as a matter of national trade policy that cooperation with Israel materially benefits U.S. companies and improves American competitiveness.

My legislation further specifies that unless exempted by the Secretary of State, the state shall not enter into a contract with a company unless the company certifies it is not engaged in a boycott of goods and services from Israel and that the state will not adopt a procurement, investment or other policy that has the effect of inducing or requiring a person to boycott the government of Israel or those doing business in or with Israel or territories under its jurisdiction.

I believe my fellow lawmakers will join me in affirming anew our firm stand with Israel and put down this BDS movement as an unsound business tactic and a moral mistake.

McBride, R-Moore, represents District 53 in the Oklahoma House.