Stop Anti-BDS (Boycott-Divest-Sanctions) Bill in California




NoOn2844Assemblymember Richard Bloom of Santa Monica introduced the “California Combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel Act” (AB 2844)  to the California State Assembly last month.  This bill seeks to block campaigns critical of  the Israeli government’s illegal occupation of Palestine by withholding contracts with California state and local government agencies from companies that have withdrawn from doing business in Israel because of BDS campaigns. While the bill does not forbid BDS campaigns (that would violate our first amendment rights of free speech) it does interfere with BDS campaigns which are protected by the constitution.

AB 2844 may go before the Appropriations Committee as early as May 11th.  It has already passed the Administrative and Judiciary committees over staff objections to the constitutionality of the bill.  A coalition of 120 organizations is working to defeat the bill.

AB 2844 would impose a substantial burden and expense on state and local government:

  • It would require the Attorney General’s Office (AG) to investigate and continually monitor the many thousands of companies that contract or with the state or local public agencies, to discover whether they start or stop engaging in activity the bill seeks to deter.
  • The AG would have to maintain and publish a blacklist of such companies, notify those included, hear their appeals and defend the state in court if they sue — which is likely to happen, given how vague and confusing the criteria in AB 2844 are.
  • Every state and local government agency that contracts with private business for any purpose would have to disqualify low bidders that appear on the AG blacklist.
  • They would also have to seek out new partners when a contract with a blacklisted company ends – even if the company was performing well and its contract could have been renewed in a much simpler, less costly process.
  • The state would have to cover all such expenses incurred by local agencies.
  • The state would also have to pay for much more complex litigation when the constitutionality of AB 2844 is challenged.

The following Orange County Assemblymembers who serve on the Appropriations Committee must do the right thing and maintain our constitutionally-protected right to boycott by opposing this bill:

Tom Daly (D- Anaheim)

Ling-Ling Chang (R-Brea)


Don Wagner (R-Tustin)
(916) 319-2068

About Rashad Al-Dabbagh

Arab American community activist based in Anaheim's Little Arabia. Founder/Director of the Arab American Civic Council. Follow him on Twitter at @Happy_Arab.