This week the Illinois House unanimously approved a bill that requires State agencies to divest from any companies that boycott Israel. The bill similarly sailed through the State Senate, and the Illinois Governor's office says, "Governor Rauner looks forward to signing the bill to make Illinois the first state in America to divest from companies that boycott Israel" We're certainly not as excited as the Governor, nor should any American that holds any respect for our Constitution. This is a dangerous move and reflects recent efforts in Congress to achieve similar results at the national level. There's a fundamental misunderstanding among lawmakers in this country about efforts by the European Union, pension funds, or any institution to not invest in Israeli companies or to require clarity on the origin of goods exported by Israel as either from Israel proper or from illegal settlements in Palestinian territory. Such efforts do not 'boycott Israel,' as the Illinois bill reads, but rather are economic expressions of "displeasure with Israel's continued flagrant violation" of international laws regarding expropriation and population transfer to occupied lands. The Illinois bill and amendments to the Trade Promotional Authority legislation represent extremely troubling official manifestations of growing efforts to silence debate by those individuals that seek to express their disagreement with Israeli policies through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions non-violent international movement. The Illinois bill limits citizens' freedom of expression and has no place in our democracy.

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