Kansas is on its way to becoming the 21st state to pass an anti-BDS law, marking the latest victory in the fight against boycotting Israel on the US state level.
The Kansas House on Wednesday passed House Bill 2409, a new resolution seeking to counter the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, with 36-3 supporting it in the Senate and a vote of 99-13 at the House.
The bill, which would bar the state from contracting with companies or individuals engaged in BDS, was sent to Governor Sam Brownback, who is expected to sign it.
Rep. William Sutton, who supported the bill, called the boycotts an “economic attack” on Israel and said the bill would protect Kansas’ trading relationship with the Jewish state.
He also noted that Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of what he called the reunification of Jerusalem, the Lawrence Journal World reported. The bill says the anti-BDS legislation applies to Israel and “territories under its jurisdiction,” which means Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
So far, the Kansas Department of Commerce hasn’t found any of the state’s contractors or other businesses in Kansas openly boycotting Israel, said David Soffer, the agency’s director of marketing and research. Under the bill, companies would be required to provide written certification saying they’re not boycotting Israel before getting a state contract.
In 2016, Kansas exported $56.7 million in commodities to Israel and imported $83.7 million from Israel, according to the Kansas Department of Commerce, the Wichita Eagle reported.
The governors of all 50 US states have recently signed a declaration condemning the BDS movement as antithetical to American values.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed an executive order banning state agencies from investing in companies that support boycotts on Israel.
The BDS movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts against Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent struggle against the so-called “Israeli occupation.” Critics say its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism and that its true objective is to destroy the State of Israel.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel