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South Dakota governor signs anti-BDS executive order

January 16, 2020 at 2:18 pm

Demonstrators supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement [Twitter]

The Republican governor of South Dakota signed an executive order on Tuesday prohibiting state offices from conducting business with companies boycotting Israel.

The recent move made by Republican, Kristi Noem, has made South Dakota the 28th state to have adopted the anti-BDS law.

“Israel is one of our nation’s closest allies, and their success is critical to American national security,” Noem announced in a statement. “Today, we reaffirm that South Dakota stands with Israel and will only contract with businesses who agree to fairly compete. Our state will not stand for any discrimination based on race or religion.”

The executive order requires vendors seeking contracts with state agencies, authorities, commissions, departments or institutions of the State of South Dakota not to engage with companies that participate in boycotts of Israel.

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It also applies to companies or contractors with more than five employees, and on contracts of $100,000 or more, according to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.

Noem signed the order in the capitol in Pierre an hour before her State of the State address, which marked the beginning of the state legislature’s 2020 session.

During the 2019 legislative session, the South Dakota House of Representatives, with the Senate concurring, passed House Concurrent Resolution 1005 that declared opposition to and condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It declared that BDS: “is one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitism.”

Other states that have enacted similar measures include: Alabama, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and before Tuesday, Kentucky.

The far-right Israel lobby organisation, StandWithUs, praised the executive order, while CEO Roz Rothstein similarly announced in a statement: “When states stand up against anti-Israel bias and discrimination, it benefits the state’s economy, joint research projects with Israel in agriculture, science and environment, and says a firm ‘NO’ to the BDS movement, which encourages anti-Semitism and discourages a peaceful negotiated solution between Israel and its neighbours.”

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