June 12, 2013
L.A. City Council passes anti-BDS resolution
Los Angeles’s City Council unanimously approved a resolution on June 12 stating that the city would continue awarding city contracts without considering issues related to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The resolution, sponsored by Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Mitchell Englander, deals a pre-emptive blow to backers of the BDS movement. That movement, which seeks to marginalize Israel and has been gaining some traction on some college campuses in California, is named for its three primary strategies, boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.
The resolution came before the council nine months after a coalition of B.D.S. activists urged the city not to award a bus contract to a French multinational company with business holdings in the West Bank.
Back in September 2012, when activists assembled to urge councilmembers on the transportation committee not to renew a city contract with Veolia Transportation, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’s community engagement committee and other local Jewish groups turned back the effort, arguing that not renewing Veolia’s contract would be a breach of fiduciary duty, and might even be illegal.
Federation helped draft the resolution that passed on Wednesday, which stated that all contracting decisions would continue to be made “based on the best interests of the City, its residents, businesses and taxpayers,” and not taking into account “issues related to the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
In a statement emailed to the Journal by a member of Federation staff, Federation Board Member Daniel Gryczman, who also chairs its community engagement initiative, said he believed the resolution was the first of its kind adopted by a large American city.
“We are very proud of the victory and the community coalition that our Federation built around this issue,” Gryczman said in the statement.
The full text of the resolution is below:
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