Israel's Newest Ally: Arkansas
Arkansas has signaled that it intends to invest in Israel and, through the enactment of two laws during this year's regular session, is standing up to a movement that seeks to boycott, divest from and punish the Middle Eastern country, Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., said Monday.
One of the laws is Act 644 -- sponsored by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow -- that allows the state Treasurer Dennis Milligan to purchase bonds from Israel that are guaranteed and backed by the full faith and credit of that government. Dermer said at least 30 states allow these investments.
The other law is Act 710 -- sponsored by Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs -- that prohibits state and local governments from contracting with and investing in companies that boycott Israel. About 20 states have enacted similar laws, Dermer said.
"Those are two very strong messages that, one, we ought to be open to invest in Israel as need be, and we should not have any restrictions on those investments," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during a ceremonial bill-signing event in the governor's conference room, which Dermer attended. "We should not honor those companies that boycott Israel."
Dermer said that "what you are doing here signing this bill is standing up to anti-Semitism.