January 17, 2020

South Dakota Governor Signs Anti-BDS Executive Order

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

On January 14, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed an executive order barring the state government from awarding contracts to those who boycott Israel.

The executive order calls Israel “a critical and invaluable ally of the United States and a faithful friend of the State of South Dakota.” It also defines boycotts of religion, ethnicity or national origin as discriminatory and notes that all state contractors already must sign a pledge committing to non-discriminatory policies.

“The State of South Dakota should act to secure its economic activities, and thereby the welfare of its citizens, by availing itself to the broadest market possible and renouncing restrictive trade practices based upon discrimination,” the executive order states.

All businesses with more than five employees applying for a contract of at least $100,000 have to certify they will not engage in any boycotts against Israel.

Jewish groups praised the executive order.

“Governor Noem has taken bold action to combat the insidious BDS movement that encourages punitive actions solely against Israel,” American Jewish Committee Chicago regional director Laurence Bolotin said in a statement. “BDS proponents do not advance peace at all. Peace only will be achieved in direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

StandWithUs co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein similarly said 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 neighbors.”

South Dakota is the 28th state to adopt an anti-BDS law.