In the wake of the U.N. anti-settlements resolution, the governor of Illinois warned the European Union that companies complying with boycotts of Israel or of its West Bank settlements face divestment by the governments of Illinois and other states.
Gov. Bruce Rauner, in his Jan. 31 letter to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, outlines Illinois law banning state pension plans from investing in companies that boycott Israel.
“Under our law, the term ‘boycott Israel’ means ‘engaging in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with the state of Israel or companies based in Israel or in territories controlled by the State of Israel,’” Rauner wrote in the letter, which his office released to JTA on Feb. 3.
“Therefore, any attempt by the European Union to direct or encourage companies (including financial institutions) within its jurisdiction, to participate in such activity, including the adoption of sanctions pursuant to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, may put EU firms at risk of violating Illinois law,” said the letter. (...)
Rauner in the letter noted that Illinois had identified some companies that participate in Israel boycotts according to how it is defined in Illinois law. At least two of those companies appear to have been listed purely for boycotting settlement goods.He also notes that since Illinois was the first to pass a law banning its pensions systems from dealing with companies that boycott Israel, in July 2015, a number of other of states have done so as well.
“I urge the council to think carefully before pursuing any further action regarding UNSC 2334 as such action may force states like Illinois to divest from EU-based firms,” Rauner said.