On October 30th, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed an anti-BDS measure, Executive Order 261, into law. The Executive Order states that agencies may not “execute a contract with a business entity if that entity is engaging in a boycott of Israel. Further, agencies shall reserve the right to terminate any contract with a business entity that engages in a boycott of Israel during the term of the contract.” Governor Walker stated that, “We stand firmly against discrimination in any form and we wholly support our friends in Israel,” and he looks forward “to leading a trade delegation to Israel to foster new trade partnerships between Wisconsin and Israeli businesses.”
Governor Walker has long emphasized the history of cooperation and trade between Wisconsin and Israel, something demonstrated by his setting off as the head of a fifteen-member business delegation to Israel this past week.
This past year has seen numerous BDS-related events that have led to incidents of anti-Semitism on the campus of the University of Madison-Wisconsin. The Louis D.
Brandeis Center had urged action on the part of the UW leadership when a series of BDS resolutions and related anti-Semitism arose on campus last Spring. The current Chair of the Associated Students of Madison has recently formally apologized for her role in pushing a BDS measure during the Passover holiday. The incidents at the University of Wisconsin only serve to highlight the need for measures such as this executive order to combat the bigoted BDS movement in a legal and efficient manner.
This action puts Wisconsin with the 24 other states that have adopted anti-BDS bills, executive orders, or resolutions. Recently, North Carolina, Kansas, and Nevada passed anti-BDS legislation. Just this past week, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed an anti-BDS executive order as well. The number of states that have passed anti-BDS legislation is rapidly approaching the halfway mark. States with large and active BDS campaigns, particularly on their college campuses, are facing active pressures against this new form of anti-Semitism. Universities and academic associations, such as the American Studies Association, have been put on the defensive through litigation and legal advocacy against BDS. BDS, along with the anti-Semitism it spreads, is being combatted on many stages in the United States. Soon, there will be no home for the anti-intellectual, anti-factual, hate-filled BDS movement in America.