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Mississippi extends Israel Support Act despite pushback from critics

A controversial law preventing Mississippi’s treasury or public employees’ retirement system from investing in companies that boycott Israel or those of Jewish descent has been recertified.

Though Republican Gov. Tate Reeves etched his signature on Senate Bill 2226, which extends the Israel Support Act of 2019 for another three years, back in April with its implementation date set for July 1, a group of lawmakers gathered on Monday for a ceremonial signing.

Critics of the legislation, such as Emad Al-Turk, the co-founder of the International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson, argue that the law infringes on Mississippians’ constitutionally protected rights to free speech and peaceful resistance to a foreign government.

“If somebody wants to support Israel, they can support Israel. This is not about Israeli support. This is about curtailing Mississippians’ and Americans’ rights to freedom of speech, freedom of protest, and boycotting in a peaceful way,” Al-Turk told SuperTalk Mississippi News in March.

Proponents of the measure, including State Treasurer David McRae, believe that the law further cements Mississippi’s unequivocal support for Israel amid the nation’s ongoing conflict in Gaza. McRae also supports the notion of pushing back against any boycotts against Israeli companies as he finds that to be an act of antisemitism.

I was proud to join @tatereeves as he signed the Israel Support Act today. This bill combats the woke, anti-Israel “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” movement and expands MS’s access to @israelbonds. We must stand with Israel against hate, antisemitism, and terrorism. ???????? ???????? pic.twitter.com/ITHnXTv7ch

— Treasurer David McRae (@DavidMcRaeMS) July 8, 2024

When the legislation was originally passed and signed by then-Gov. Phil Bryant, a section of the Department of Finance Authority’s website was created to keep a list of companies determined to be boycotting the Jewish State.

According to the state law, Mississippi companies are required to be given a 90-day written notice before being placed on the list, offering business owners the opportunity to prove they are not discriminating against the Middle Eastern nation.

“Are we really going to be boycotting people for expressing their opinions and expressing what groups they

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