On January 14, South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order that prohibits state offices from doing business with companies that boycott Israel. South Dakota becomes the 28th state to pass legislation that targets the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“Israel is one of our nation’s closest allies, and their success is critical to American national security,” said Noem 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 South Dakota House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning the BDS movement during the 2019 legislative session. It declares that BDS “is one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitism.”
Noem’s move has been praised by a number of pro-Israel organizations. “Governor Noem has taken bold action to combat the insidious BDS movement that encourages punitive actions solely against Israel,” said The American Jewish Committee’s Laurence Bolotin, “BDS proponents do not advance peace at all. Peace only will be achieved in direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”
The executive order applies to companies with more than five employees that do business with the state for $100,000. Recent anti-BDS measures have included such criteria, in an attempt to escape constitutional challenges.