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Co-Sponsor of Pro Israel Bill Criticizes Bloom's Move
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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

 

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

April 7, 2016 -- The Republican legislator who co-sponsored a bill with Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom criticized his colleague for appropiating his bill to counter a boycott against Israel.

Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach said “any effort” to split from AB 1522 -- which prohibits state agencies from doing business with contractors involved in a controversial boycott of Israel --
is “an effort to weaken California's stand for Israel.”

Allen’s statement was a response to the former Santa Monica mayor's announcement on Monday that he was authoring AB 2844 -- his own nearly identical bill regarding the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (or BDS) movement against Israel.

Bloom's proposed bill makes only minor changes to the legislation he co-authored with Allen.

Under Bloom's proposed bill public entities are required to notify companies which have been flagged as boycotting Israel and allow them the opportunity to "prove that they are not in fact paticipating in a boycott," Sean MacNeil, Bloom's chief of staff told The Lookout.

Bloom said he decided to go his own way because Allen did not get the full support of the Legislative Jewish Caucus before introducing AB 1522 in January.

Bloom, whose district has one of California’s largest Jewish populations, said the Jewish Caucus requested that he step in with his own bill, and that he was happy to do so. Bloom is a caucus member.

Some political observers believe sponsorship of the legislation has become a partisan issue and note that Jewish Caucus is composed of 13 Democrats and two Republicans.

In his statement, Allen never names Bloom specifically -- but appears clearly distressed by the political divisions.

"I decided to run this legislation in October of last year because it was the right thing to do,” Allen said. “I formally introduced legislation January 4th and have since been working tirelessly to work with the Jewish Caucus and stakeholders to get behind the effort.

"Ultimately the fight is to end BDS, and that fight transcends the partisan politics. It is too critical of an issue to confront divided.”

Allen said his bill was the only one with bipartisan support and that he stands “ready to move forward this week united to end BDS in California."

Allen’s supporters have accused Bloom of trying to co-opt the bill for political gain, noting that Bloom faces re-election in November.

Bloom denies the accusation, and compares verbal sniping over the dueling bills as “right out of junior high school.”

In general, both bills stop the state from doing business with companies involved in the anti-Israel BDS effort, which was started around 2004 over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is trying to make its reach global.

In 2014, the state exported more than $2.3 billion in goods to Israel, making it California’s 18th-largest export partner, Allen has said.

Bloom said his bill already has the support of such organizations as the American Jewish Committee, Jewish Public Affairs Council, Israeli-American Nexus, Simon Wiesenthal Center and Agudath Israel of California.

In unveiling his bill in Sacramento, he was flanked by Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego), Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, along with eight other state legislators.

Bloom says his bill is poised to go to committee soon, while Allen’s legislation is in limbo.


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