HARRISBURG: After Ben & Jerry’s on Monday announced it plans to halt ice cream sales in portions of Israel, state Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) spoke last night with the Israeli Consulate and today called on Gov. Tom Wolf, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and state Treasurer Stacy Garrity to enforce a state procurement law prohibiting the state from contracting with companies that boycott Israel.
“Pennsylvania has a role to play in combatting international anti-Semitism,” Kaufer said. “The Boycott, Divest and Sanctions – or BDS – movement is little more than a poorly hidden anti-Semitic economic attack.
“It isn’t about Palestinian rights, or a Palestinian state, but as backers of the BDS chant ‘the river to the sea,’ it’s about eliminating the Jewish people from Israel.”
Act 163 of 2016
, formerly House Bill 2107
, prohibits state agencies, or affiliates, from contracting with companies engaged in a boycott of Israel. The bill passed the House 181-9, and the Senate 47-1.
Ben & Jerry’s announced plans to boycott sales in parts of Israel, and refrain from renewing its licensing agreement, triggers Act 163, which specifies that it is “in the interest of the United States and the Commonwealth to stand with Israel and other countries by promoting trade and commercial activities and to discourage policies that disregard that interest.”
Act 163 of 2016 states that a company contracted by the Commonwealth is not permitted to be involved in a boycott, or to refuse “to deal with a person or firm when the action is based on race, color, religion, gender or national affiliation of the person or entity.”
Kaufer sent a letter
to Wolf, Shapiro and Garrity to confirm they will uphold Pennsylvania law and end any sales or contracts with any state office, agency or affiliate, including vendors, that sell or offer Ben & Jerry’s products.
“Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly are united in taking a strong stand in the fight against prejudice,” said Kaufer. “I hope and expect Gov. Wolf, Attorney General Shapiro and Treasurer Garrity to uphold our historic opposition to discrimination and stand with one of America’s strongest allies. It is the law, and we expect it to be followed.”
Representative Aaron Kaufer
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Stephen Miskin