Thursday 26 October 2017

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Signs Anti-BDS Order to Block Boycotts of Israel

Thursday 26 October 2017

he Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, today signed an Executive Order prohibiting executive branch agencies from entering into contracts or conducting official state business with any entity unless they certify that they will not engage in a boycott of Israel during the duration of the contract.

The executive order opposes the Palestinian led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is a veiled attack on the Palestinian-led BDS movement. Hogan’s executive order is intended to silence anyone who participates in the peaceful movement to end Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinians.

“Israel is a robust democracy with many rights and freedoms that don’t exist in neighboring countries, or across much of the world,” said Hogan. “The shameful BDS movement seeks to undercut those rights and freedoms, using economic discrimination and fear, by boycotting Israeli companies and prohibiting them from doing business in the United States.

Additionally, Hogan asked the Board of Trustees of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System to take divestment action regarding companies who retain investments with companies who are part of the BDS movement.

Reuven Azar, Deputy Head of Mission, Israeli Embassy said, “The State of Israel is thankful for the steadfast support of Governor Hogan and the people of Maryland against those who wish to delegitimize it.”

The order is misleadingly framed as an act of anti-discrimination, where in fact BDS does not discriminate against any person, but rather, companies and government entities that partake in Israel’s violation of international laws.

TAKE ACTION TO STOP UNCONSTITUTIONAL ATTACK ON FREEDOM TO BOYCOTT

WHAT IS THE ISRAEL ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT?
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720/H.R. 1697) aims to quell the movement for Palestinian rights by penalizing companies and individuals that support the nonviolent tactic of boycott to hold Israel accountable for violations of Palestinian rights. Specifically, the legislation seeks to amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 to prohibit U.S. individuals and companies from taking action to comply with calls by the U.N. to boycott Israel or illegal Israeli settlements, with stiff penalties. H.R. 1697/S. 720 would provide legal support to illegal settlements and upend decades of established U.S. policy. The bill has been widely criticized, including by the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil liberties groups, for violating First Amendment protections for free speech and against political discrimination. Jewish Voice for Peace opposes the legislation and has issued a backgrounder for engaging members of Congress.


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