Michigan has become the latest state to pass legislation aimed at combating the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The bipartisan legislation, HB 5821 and 5822, was passed by both the Michigan House and Senate in December and signed Tuesday by Governo Rick Snyder. The law prohibits Michigan from contracting with businesses that boycott a “strategic partner” of the U.S. as described in 22 USC 8601-8606, the sections of the U.S. Code that cover relations between America and Israel.
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 Michigan legislation states.
Since 2015, dozens of U.S. states have passed or introduced such bills to protect their economies from efforts to restrict trade with Israel, a goal of the BDS movement. Pro-Israel organizations praised Michigan’s move.
“These bills protect Michigan’s citizens from the devastating economic impact that would result from a boycott of Israel. This legislation is good for the future prosperity of the state, the nation and Israel,” said Peggy Shapiro, Midwest director of StandWithUs, a pro-Israel educational and advocacy organization.
Josh Block, CEO of the Israel Project, said that Michigan’s passage of the bill ensures “that holding Israel to a double standard would not be tolerated.”
“I’d like to extend my thanks to Michigan for standing beside Israel and refusing to look the other way in the face of prejudice,” Block said.