OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation that recognizes Israel as one of Oklahoma’s top trade partners and the nation’s greatest ally in the Middle East passed the state Senate Friday night – the final step in the legislative process. It now awaits the governor’s signature to become law.
House Bill 3967, authored by State Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, specifies that unless exempted by the secretary of state, the state of Oklahoma will not enter into contracts with companies that advocate boycotts, divestments or sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The state also will not adopt a procurement, investment or other policy that has the effect of inducing or requiring a person to boycott the government of Israel or those doing business in or with Israel or territories under its jurisdiction.
“This legislation recognizes Oklahoma’s relationship with and support of Israel as one of Oklahoma’s largest trading partners and the staunchest ally of the United States’ in the Middle East,” McBride said. “In a time when there are people and nations that would like to see Israel cease to exist as a nation, this legislation is more important than ever.”
McBride said Israel is Oklahoma’s 12th largest trade partner. The state exported almost $104 million of commodities to Israel in 2019, up from almost $61 million in 2017. He said such trade represents a number of jobs in the state. Contracting with companies that refuse to deal with U.S. trade partners, such as Israel, or that make discriminatory decisions on the basis of national origin is risky and unsound trade practice. He also points out that U.S. policy opposes such boycotts and that Congress has concluded as a matter of national trade policy that cooperation with Israel materially benefits U.S. companies and improves American competitiveness.
McBride said as a Christian, he also personally believes Israel has a unique covenant relationship with God, and the Bible is clear: those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed.
HB 3967 is modeled after legislation adopted by 26 other states, including Kansas. The measure passed the Senate on a vote of 38-7, where it was authored by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore.