Thursday, 02 July, 2020


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signs anti-BDS executive order

A view of construction in the West Bank settlement of Efrat A view of construction in the West Bank settlement of Efrat
Bennie Garza | 29 October, 2017, 06:41

Yet, the laws against boycotting Israel enjoy bipartisan support not just in the states in which they have been passed, but at the federal level: A Senate bill sponsored by Benjamin Cardin, a democrat from Maryland, and Rob Portman, a republican from OH, would impose sanctions on foreign companies supporting campaigns to boycott Israel.

"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 bill also condemns the United Nations resolution encouraging countries to divest from Israel to put pressure on it to end the West Bank occupation. "This propaganda campaign is also the basis for newly emboldened and destructive anti-Semitic attitudes", Vukmir said in a press release. "We must support our ally, Israel".

Rights groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), have blasted these measures as unconstitutional and repressive.

This position has been brought under the spotlight by the news that the municipality of Dickinson, in Texas, demanded that people agree to not boycott Israel as a pre-condition to qualify for relief funds after hurricane Harvey. The bill also requires that state contracts for materials, supplies, equipment, and services include a provision that the vendor is not now participating in and will not participate in a boycott of Israel during the contract.

The South Asia Coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee said in a statement, "Indian solidarity with the Palestinian people is not new, it has a long history".

"After losing so many battles for hearts and minds against the fast-growing BDS movement for Palestinian rights", he told Al Jazeera, "Israel and its massive lobby are desperately trying to stop the movement from above, by passing draconian, unconstitutional laws that evoke the worst memories of McCarthyism". For example, earlier this year, a public teacher in Kansas was not allowed to continue holding her position because of her refusal to buy and consume products made by Israeli companies or companies with establishments in settlements in the occupied territories in Palestine.

Started in 2005, BDS is a global campaign that draws from the anti-Apartheid struggle in South African and calls for grassroots pressure to hold Israel accountable for violations of worldwide law and human rights.

In response, Israel and its advocates have pushed measures that target BDS activists at home and overseas, including espionage and a tactic it calls "legal warfare".

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". A faculty member planning such an event should monitor the publicity of campus pro-BDS groups, have copies of the school's code of conduct, and ask that even those opposed to the speaker listen to the speaker first. Such laws, they argue, violate free speech rights.

"Rather than just paying lip service to the two-state solution and denouncing settlement activity, it is incumbent upon each member of the worldwide community to take serious and concrete action and initiate strict sanctions against Israel which should also be held to account by the ICC for its continued war crimes", she said.

Support for BDS, including sanctions, will only rise as a result.

The goal of the study, as stated in its conclusion, is to "serve as a resource for faculty who may face animosity from the BDS movement, assaults on academic freedom, or some form of antisemitic rhetoric or behavior".

In March, the federal Israel Anti-Boycott Act - a bill that seeks to criminalise boycotting Israel - was introduced in the US Congress.

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