Senators Santarsiero and Phillips-Hill announce legislation to protect state investments in Israel

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Press release
HARRISBURG – June 7, 2024 – Senators Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) announced legislation to maintain Pennsylvania’s steadfast support of Israel by banning holdings in the Pennsylvania State Treasury of Commonwealth pension funds from Israel and business corporations boycott or divest with Israel. The bill will also withhold state funding from any higher education institution that boycotts or divests from Israel.

The legislation is being introduced in the wake of protests this spring on college campuses across the United States, with protesters in some cases successful in getting universities to consider divesting from Israel and companies that do business with the Israeli government.

“It is important that Pennsylvania continues to promote trade and commercial activities with Israel, given Israel’s strategic importance to the United States as a long-standing ally and the only true democracy in a volatile region of the world,” said Senator Santarsiero. “To that end, we must act to prevent our Commonwealth, including our colleges and universities, from taking the completely unjustified action of withdrawing from Israel.”

“Policymakers at all levels of government must do everything possible to support our country’s most important ally in the Middle East: Israel,” said Senator Phillips-Hill. “Like America, Israel will not be bullied by adversaries. A strong and prosperous Israel needs a strong partner in the United States. This bipartisan measure will ensure that no one can use anti-Semitic tactics to weaken our resolve to support Israel.”

The legislation will not affect investment decisions made solely to promote the financial position of the funds.

Senator Santarsiero first sponsored similar legislation in 2015 to ban the state from giving money to Pennsylvania universities that divest from Israel.

Senators Santarsiero and Phillips-Hill plan to introduce the legislation in the coming weeks.