Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order on Tuesday prohibiting his state government from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.
“The United States, and by affiliation Louisiana, have benefited in innumerable ways from our deep friendship with Israel. Any effort to boycott Israel is an affront to this longstanding relationship. I am pleased that Louisiana will join what is now a critical mass of states in supporting our closest ally,” Edwards said in a statement.
The order directs the state commissioner of administration to terminate existing state contracts with companies if they are currently boycotting Israel or supporting those who do. In the future, companies will be required to certify that they are not boycotting Israel before being awarded a state contract.
The prohibition does not impact speech or consumer conduct. It is limited solely to commercial conduct only and will not be applied to companies that have contracts with the state that total less than $100,000 or that have fewer than five employees, according to the executive order.
Pro-Israel groups quickly congratulated Edwards, whose state became the 25th to prohibit business with BDS groups.
“The Israel Project is grateful to the governor for his leadership in fighting back against BDS discrimination,” CEO and president Josh Block said in a statement. “Advocates of BDS discrimination remain committed to their anti-Semitic agenda of isolating and demonizing the world’s only Jewish state. Its founders have openly called for Israel’s destruction and made it clear that they target Israel’s very existence, not its policies.”
Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization, expressed her optimism about the turn of events. “We are heartened that Louisiana has taken a strong stand opposing discrimination against Israel. Earlier this year, the city of New Orleans rejected an anti-Semitic resolution, and now the state has made clear that tax-payer funds should not support businesses which discriminate.”