Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed an executive order on Friday that prohibits all state agencies from entering into contracts or conducting official state business with companies engaged in a boycott of the State of Israel, Benjamin Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post.
“We stand firmly against discrimination in any form and we wholly support our friends in Israel,” said Walker, adding “I look forward to leading a trade delegation to Israel to foster new trade partnerships between Wisconsin and Israeli businesses.”
The decision by the governor to sign the executive order makes Wisconsin the 24th state to have either anti-BDS legislation, or an executive order.
The executive order states, “Consistent with existing Wisconsin nondiscrimination provisions of and regulations governing purchases… agencies may not execute a contract with a business entity if that entity is engaging in a boycott of Israel. Further, agencies shall reserve the right to terminate any contract with a business entity that engages in a boycott of Israel during the term of the contract.”
The order further notes that “boycotts based on religion, national origin, ethnicity, or residence are discriminatory” and “the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel serves to inflame conflict; and over 20 states have enacted laws or resolutions against the BDS campaign.”
Beyond sharing common values and history with the U.S., Israel has emerged as a central business partner with the state of Wisconsin. Trade relations are flourishing between the two parties “with Wisconsin exporting over $80 million annually to Israel and importing over $200 million annually from Israel,” according to the governor.
The Israel Project’s CEO and President Josh Block said, “The Israel Project is grateful to Governor Walker for his leadership in fighting against BDS discrimination. For years, Israel – and only Israel – has been targeted by this deceptive attempt to delegitimize its very right to exist. BDS proponents do not seek a better life for the Palestinians, nor do they aim to create a political environment favorable to a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. Their true aim is the destruction of the Jewish state.”
Block added, “From the North to South, in blue and red states – and with strong bipartisan support – lawmakers in 24 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.”
The governor’s executive order comes ahead of his departure for Israel with a 15-member trade delegation this week.