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Halfway There: Louisiana Becomes 25th State to Prohibit Business Ties with Companies that Boycott Israel

Louisiana on Tuesday became the twenty-fifth U.S. state to enact legislation or executive orders against the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) Movement, The Times-Picayune reported.

Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order prohibiting the Louisiana state government from executing contracts with businesses that engage in the boycott of Israel. 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. The order also stipulates that, moving forward, companies seeking to engage in a state contract will be required to sign an agreement certifying they comply with the new law.

“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,” Edwards, a Democrat, said in a written statement.

The executive order specifically mentions BDS, and a hope to counter the movement’s goals of isolating, and ultimately destroying, 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 he was celebrating the 70th anniversary of Israel at the governor’s mansion. Earlier on Tuesday, the Louisiana House had also honored Israel at the opening of their special session.

Responding to Governor Edward’s decision to sign the order, TIP CEO and President Josh Block, issued the following statement:

“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, an international Israel educational organization, said. “Earlier this year, the city of New Orleans rejected an anti-Semitic resolution, and now the state has made clear that tax payer funds should not support businesses which discriminate.” StandWithUs is a partner with The Israel Project in fighting BDS at the state level.

“The Israel Action Network (IAN) applauds Governor John Bel Edwards for signing an Executive Order to counter the discriminatory Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement on the same day the Louisiana legislature passed bipartisan resolutions commemorating the 70th anniversary of Israel’s Independence and the strong Louisiana-Israel relationship. These efforts make Louisiana the 25th state to take action against BDS, marking a critical moment in which fifty percent of U.S. states have received the message that boycotting Israel is bad for business. 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,” said William Daroff, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at JFNA.

[Photo: Ken Lund / Flickr]