Michigan Governor signs anti-boycott bill into law

Ben Ariel,

Anti-BDS groups hail new Michigan law that prohibits boycotts against individuals or a public entity of a foreign state.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law a bill that prohibits boycotts against individuals or a public entity of a foreign state, JTA reported Tuesday.

Snyder signed the legislation on Monday, according to the report. The Michigan State House and State Senate passed the measure in December.

While the law does not mention Israel specifically, pro-Israel groups lauded the bill as it deals yet another blow to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The legislation states that the Department of Management and Budget and all state agencies “may not enter into a contract with a person to acquire or dispose of supplies, services, or information technology unless the contract includes a representation that the person is not currently engaged in, and an agreement that the person will not engage in, the boycott of a person based in or doing business with a strategic partner.”

The law follows similar legislation against BDS that has passed in other states in recent months. New York, California, New Jersey, Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia are among the states that have approved similar laws.

In December, Nevada introduced a law against the anti-Israel movement, after Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchinson and pro-Israel activists introduced Senate Bill 26, which is similar to the anti-BDS legislation passed in other states.

Also in December, the Ohio House of Representatives approved a bill targeting BDS.

The pro-Israel group StandWithUs welcomed the Michigan legislation on Tuesday, saying in a statement issued that it “protects Michigan’s economy from efforts to restrict trade with Israel, efforts which are being promoted by the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS).”

Michigan is involved in tens of millions of dollars in annual economic trade with Israeli entities, in addition to business undertaken with many other partners who have commercial interests in Israel, according to StandWithUs.

The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit praised the Michigan Legislature and Snyder.

“This bill sends a strong statement that the State of Michigan stands with Israel, which has long been an important trading partner of Michigan,” said David Kurzmann, executive director of JCRC/AJC. “This is a significant step against prejudice. It will solidify that relationship and prevent companies which boycott Israel based on national origin from doing business with the state of Michigan.”

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