In recent years, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement has gained traction across the United States primarily with radicals on large campuses. Proponents of BDS pressure government bodies, academic, religious and private enterprises into boycotting or divesting from all Israeli-based companies or companies that conduct business in Israel.
The BDS movement exclusively targets the world’s only Jewish state, Israel, for criticism while ignoring conflicts and countries engaged in major human rights violations around the world. Ironically, the BDS movement does not recognize that Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which women have equal treatment under the law and all adult citizens have the right to vote regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation.These so-called social justice warriors fail to recognize the tyranny of North Korea or the threats of Iran and instead want broad based policies enacted that isolate Israel in a time and region of uncertainty.
Even here in Wisconsin, the UW-Madison Teaching Assistants Association (TAA/AFT Local 3220) have pushed BDS policies that are discriminatory and racist and are not in keeping with our state’s strong history of supporting democracy.
BDS seeks to economically harm Israel and question Israel’s legitimacy as a member of the international community with the ultimate goal of leading to the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State.
In 1970, the U.S. Government made it illegal for American companies to boycott Israel. Recognizing Israel as a key strategic ally in the Middle East, state legislatures across the country, including Tennessee, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, South Carolina and New Jersey, have taken action to condemn the BDS movement and its efforts to undermine a two-state solution. It is vital for Wisconsin to protect victims of BDS attacks and become one more state to stand with our ally Israel.
To that end, this past week I circulated a bill for co-sponsors with Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) that requires companies that do business with the state to verify they are not participating in any boycotts of Israel as a condition of their contracts and prohibits state agencies and local governments from establishing policies that would boycott Israel. This bill recognizes Wisconsin’s economic, scientific, educational and cultural ties with Israel. To date, 26 states have introduced or passed legislation restricting state contracting/procurement with companies involved in the BDS movement against Israel. The bill is the result of our offices’ working closely with the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.