Christie signs bill banning N.J. investments with companies boycotting Israel

By John C. Ensslin, The Record

Governor Christie signed into law on Tuesday a measure that prohibits state investments in any company that boycotts Israel.

“Israel is the beacon of democracy in a region that is in constant conflict and turmoil” Christie said moments after signing the bill.

He noted New Jersey does $1.3 billion in trade with Israel annually.

Christie encouraged other states to adopt similar measures.

Assemblyman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood, one of the bill’s prime sponsors, was present for the bill signing at the State House.

“I’m very grateful,” she said afterwards. “I’m happy to see that New Jersey remains a strong ally to Israel. The purpose of the bill is to make sure – they are the sole democracy in that area – that we don’t stifle them.”

The bill, which had 60 co-sponsors, passed the Assembly by a 70-3 vote. It was unanimously approved in the Senate where the Israeli Consul General from New York addressed the lawmakers before the vote.

The new law prohibits investment of the New Jersey public employee retirement funds with any company that boycotts Israeli businesses.

It would not apply to any company providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, unless that company also is involved in an Israeli boycott.

Similar measures have been adopted by the Illinois, New York and South Carolina.