RICHMOND, VA – The Jewish Communities across the Commonwealth jointly thank the General Assembly for its bipartisan support of House Joint Resolution 177, a forceful condemnation of the discriminatory and anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS).
The Virginia General Assembly denounced BDS as “inherently antithetical and deeply damaging to the cause of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.”
A serious domestic policy matter, BDS impacts the citizens of the Commonwealth by spreading anti-Semitic hatred and creating an intimidating and hostile environment for those who support strong US-Israel ties or engage in economic, cultural, academic, or scientific activities with the people of Israel. BDS supporters have tried to chill debate and intimidate Israel supporters on campuses, in professional associations, and the interfaith community. Moreover, by seeking to shut down the mutually beneficial and longstanding ties Virginia has with Israel, BDS promotes severe damage to the Commonwealth and its economy.
By promoting boycotts rather than constructive dialogue, BDS prevents negotiation and progress. The statewide organized Jewish community appreciates the General Assembly’s continuing support of the State of Israel and thanks our legislators for rejecting BDS and standing up for reconciliation, hope, and a peaceful future in the Middle East.
The statewide organized Jewish community has engaged in efforts to educate Virginians and the General Assembly about the dangers of BDS to Israel and Virginia. In recent months, that effort culminated in the united promotion of HJ177 by the following organizations:
Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington
Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater
Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula
Those organizations were supported by pro-Israel groups including Hadassah, the AJC Washington Region and the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Delegate Jason Miyares, chief patron of HJ177 said, “The BDS movement is a misguided and dangerous attempt to isolate Israel from the community of nations at a time where the threats to the Jewish state are the highest in decades. I was proud to carry the legislation and am extremely proud that the Virginia General Assembly, the oldest democracy in the Western Hemisphere, has publicly stood with America's strongest ally in the Middle East, Israel.”
By passing HJ177, Virginia joins the US federal government, Canada, the UK, France and over 10 states in taking a firm, anti-BDS stance.
Daniel “Doni” Fogel is the director of Jewish Community Relations and Israel & Overseas Programing. Reach him at DFogel@JewishRichmond.org or (804) 545-8626.