Troubled by growing threats to use state university investments for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, is announcing a bill to block universities from engaging in divestment or boycotts targeted at the state of Israel.
“I will not allow our state’s public universities to be used in misguided diplomatic attacks on Israel,” said Baumgartner, a member of the Higher Education Committee credited with sparking the move to cut tuition in Washington. “As someone with experience on the ground in the Middle East, I know that anti-Israel actions such as these only help to empower the bad actors who want to see Israel and the Jewish people wiped off the map.”
Baumgartner’s bill would prohibit any public state university or university receiving State Need Grant funding from participating in any boycott activities.
Baumgartner served as a U.S. State Department Officer in the Middle East.
The University of Washington was recently ranked the seventh-worst college campus for Jewish students after recent attempts to pass a BDS resolution. Other state universities such as Evergreen State College have passed similar resolutions to boycott Israel and are pressuring UW to join. UW manages the Consolidated Endowment Fund which includes the investment portfolios of schools such as Evergreen.
“Our universities need to be solely focused on educating our students, not being distracted by political correctness run amuck with absurd and amateurish causes,” said Baumgartner.