Yesterday Senator Daniel Biss announced that he was not going to keep 35th Ward Alderman (my ward) Carlos Rosa as his running mate.
The issue was BDS, the economic and political boycott of Israel that has grown because of protest of Israeli treatment and policy towards Palestinians.
Biss opposes BDS. Rosa has said he supports it, but opposes pursuing it “at the state level.”
Republicans along with Democrats like 10th District Congressman Brad Schneider jumped all over Biss and Rosa on the issue.
Following the Biss announcement Governor Rauner’s office said, “Under Governor Rauner’s leadership, Illinois became the first state in America to divest its public pension funds from companies that participate in BDS. This should always be a bipartisan issue and I applaud Congressman Schneider and Senator Biss for making clear to the far-left that BDS has no place in the Democratic Party.”
What is true in that statement is that Rauner has led in uncritical support for Israel in the state and the Democrats unanimously have followed his lead. The demand for unanimity from Democrats over Israel has inevitably led to the kind of mess we saw yesterday. Uncritical support for Israel has been a litmus test for even those who call themselves progressive.
When the Illinois General Assembly passed the bill to divest public pensions from companies observing the boycott of Israel, I posted this:
It takes an amazing level of chutzpah to underfund the pensions, cut our benefits and then propose a bill that uses our pension to pursue your own pro-Israel agenda.
Illinois public employee pensions are the most underfunded pension funds in the country.
This is because the Illinois legislature refused to pay into them what they are required to pay.
Illinois State Senator Ira Siverstein now wants to use them to pursue a foreign policy agenda of support for Israel.
You are probably saying, “What?”
Last year Senator Ira Silverstein was defeated in his attempt to defund Illinois public colleges and universities if even one employee supported the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
Now he and a bunch of others are back with an idea that Bruce Rauner loves.
This bill would require TRS and other public pension funds to research and investigate companies and divest any investments in those that participate in a political boycott of Israel.
Amazingly this bill passed in the Senate 49-0.
Let me remind you that Senator Silverstein voted last year to cut our pension benefits.
Time to make some phone calls to Illinois House members and tell them to leave our pension investments alone.
They’ve done enough harm to our pension funds already.
This will not be the last time that the Democrats will find themselves in a pickle because of their unanimous uncritical support of Israel.