TEL AVIV – Louisiana on Tuesday became the 25th U.S. state to bar state government agencies from doing business with companies that are involved in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
“The United States, and by affiliation Louisiana, have benefited in innumerable ways from our deep friendship with Israel. Any effort to boycott Israel is an affront to this longstanding relationship. I am pleased that Louisiana will join what is now a critical mass of states in supporting our closest ally,” Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said in a statement.
The order directs the state commissioner of administration to terminate existing state contracts with companies that are either currently boycotting Israel or supporting those who do. It further stipulates that future state contracts will first require parties to sign an agreement stating their compliance with the new law.
The executive order specifies BDS and says it hopes to reverse the anti-Israel movement’s aim to isolate the Jewish state. “The state of Louisiana unequivocally rejects the BDS campaign and stands firmly with Israel,” the order reads.
Edwards issued the order on the same night the Governor’s Mansion celebrated the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation. Earlier on Tuesday, the House passed a resolution praising the anniversary.
Pro-Israel groups lauded Edwards’ move.
The Israel Project said in a statement from its CEO Josh Block:
The Israel Project is grateful to the governor for his leadership in fighting back against BDS discrimination. Advocates of BDS discrimination remain committed to their anti-Semitic agenda of isolating and demonizing the world’s only Jewish State. Its founders have openly called for Israel’s destruction and made it clear that they target Israel’s very existence, not its policies. From the North to South, in blue and red states – and with strong bipartisan support – lawmakers in 25 states have now declared BDS a form of discrimination and sent a clear signal that their states will not tolerate or condone taxpayer dollars going to subsidize anti-Israel hate.
“We are heartened that Louisiana has taken a strong stand opposing discrimination against Israel,” Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, said. “Earlier this year, the city of New Orleans rejected an anti-Semitic resolution, and now the state has made clear that taxpayer funds should not support businesses which discriminate.”
The Jewish Federations of North America said that the move marks “a critical moment in which fifty percent of U.S. states have received the message that boycotting Israel is bad for business,” according to a statement released by the group’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy William Daroff.
“These state actions address the discriminatory nature of BDS and the ability for states to control their own commerce. We thank the governor and the many community activists who made this possible in Louisiana,” Daroff added.