Letter to the editor: Jewish groups should renounce legislation


In May, the Missouri legislature passed a bill which, in the words of multiple opposed legislators, forces companies who have a major contract with the State of Missouri to sign a “loyalty oath” to the State of Israel (Senate Bill 739). A representative from these companies must sign a statement that they will not refrain from buying and selling goods and services to and from Israel (or companies doing business in Israel) for political reasons. They can legally boycott North Carolina, they can boycott organizations they think are promoting homosexuality, they can even boycott the United States federal government, for whatever reason they choose. But if given the opportunity, they must do business with Israel.

The bill was heavily supported by Christians United for Israel, whose leader John Hagee once claimed that Adolf Hitler was a descendant of murderous “half-breed Jews.” One supporting representative called Missouri a Christian state and said that attacks on Israel are attacks on “our” Christian faith as Missourians. As a fifth generation Missouri Jew I find this statement both offensive and dangerous. The St. Louis chapter of the American Jewish Committee, by supporting the bill, has allied itself with these extreme right-wing Christian forces, which are dangerous for Jews in America. It did so to shield Israel from facing repercussions for its blatant violations of Palestinian rights.

I hope to see other Jewish organizations strongly renounce this unconstitutional piece of legislation. That the legislature spent any time on this issue in the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis is an insult to all Missourians.

Michael Berg, St. Louis

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