Federation Hosts Governor Scott’s Signing Ceremony for Bill Fighting BDS
The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and its Jewish Community Relations Council welcomed hundreds of distinguished guests into Zinman Hall on April 6, 2016 for the ceremonial signing of a state bill in support of Israel. Governor Rick Scott chose the Federation campus to sign SB 86, which prohibits the State Board of Administration from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel.
The bill received nearly unanimous bipartisan support in the 2016 Florida legislative session, and Governor Scott was aptly joined by bill sponsor, Senate President-Designate Joe Negron, State Senators Maria Sachs and Joseph Abruzzo, and Representatives Ritch Workman and Jared Moskowitz. Also flanking the governor during the signing were Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Consul General of Israel Lior Haiat.
Matthew C. Levin, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County welcomed all the dignitaries to the Federation campus.
"This is a hallmark day in the effort to fight back against those who wish to delegitimize Israel,” said Levin in his remarks from the podium. “But this effort is not over. Now go back to your own residential communities, find out who your vendors are and make sure you aren’t engaged with companies that boycott Israel. We need to send a message across the board that if you do business with companies that won’t do business in Israel, you can’t do business in Florida and you can’t do business in South Palm Beach County."
“For many generations, Florida and Israel have been close partners, allies and great friends,” said Governor Scott. “This bill ensures the State of Florida will not support those that participate in campaigns fueled by intolerance and anti-Semitism, like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement, that have no place in the great state of Florida."
Consul General Haiat said, “The passing of this new law strengthens the friendship between Florida and Israel and sends a clear message against the bigotry and discrimination of the BDS Movement. I applaud Governor Scott and the Florida State Legislature for taking the lead on the anti-BDS front and for their hard work on getting this bill passed.”
At a press conference following the ceremony, Haiat added, "BDS is not a pro-Palestinian movement, but an anti-Israel movement that seeks only to lead to the destruction of the Jewish homeland of Israel — and therefore it is something that must be stopped."
Among the remarks from the podium, Senator Joe Negron said, “Those who seek to inflict economic harm on Israel or weaken Florida’s ability to conduct trade with Israel will not receive any support from the State of Florida.”
Representative Jared Moskowitz said, "Florida’s friendship and partnership with Israel is unbreakable, and we will not support acts of hatred in our state. I am honored to join Governor Scott today in celebrating the passage of this excellent bill."
Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera noted that Florida was the first state to divest its pension fund from any countries on the federal list of state sponsors of terrorism, and is now among the first to pass a law banning the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.
“It is fitting that the governor chose to hold this ceremony on our campus,” said Federation President & CEO, Matthew C. Levin. “Our Federation has been in the forefront of state advocacy for Israel. Working closely with then State Senator Ted Deutch on the first state Iran divestment bill in the country, we watched it become the model for other states. And we supported now Congressman Deutch, a past leader in our Federation who is with us this afternoon, in his further successful efforts to take the issue to the federal level.”
Levin continued, “Also in testament to our community’s continuing leadership on Israel advocacy, both William Daroff, Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office of The Jewish Federations of North America, and David Bernstein, President & CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, flew in from Washington for the signing.”
Photo captions (top to bottom, L-R):
- Israel Allies Foundation Deputy Director Joe Sabag, Rabbi Schneur Oirechman, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Gov. Rick Scott, State Rep. Jared Moskowitz, State Senator Joe Negron, State Rep. Ritch Workman.
- Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico Lior Haiat, Gov. Rick Scott.
- Broward County Federation Chair Sammy Schulman; South Palm Beach County Federation Chair Anne Jacobson; South Palm Beach County Federation President & CEO Matthew C. Levin; William Daroff, JFNA Senior VP for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office; Broward Federation President & CEO Michael Balaban.
- State, local and federal elected officials attended: Boca Raton City Council Member Scott Singer; State Senators Joe Abruzzo, Joe Negron, Maria Sachs; Boca Raton City Council Member Robert Weinroth; Consul General Lior Haiat; Member of Congress Ted Deutch; Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie; State Representatives Ritch Workman and Jared Moskowitz; Palm Beach County Commissioner Steve Abrams.