Two Republican state lawmakers in Wisconsin last week introduced legislation to prohibit businesses from engaging in boycotts of Israel as a condition of any state contract.
In recent years, more than 20 U.S. states have passed legislation condemning BDS or prohibiting government business with entities that boycott Israel, with additional states—including Wisconsin—expected to follow before the end of the year.
Released by State Sen. Leah Vukmir and State Rep. Dale Kooyenga, the bill is currently being circulated among both chambers for co-sponsors. The measure states that it “prohibits any state agency or other body in state government and any local governmental unit, including a special purpose district, from adopting a rule, ordinance, policy, or procedure that involves the state agency or local governmental unit in a boycott of Israel or a person doing business in Israel or in a territory under Israeli jurisdiction.”
It also “requires contracts for materials, supplies, equipment, and services between state purchasing agents and nongovernmental entities to include a provision that the nongovernmental entity is not currently participating, or will not for the duration of the contract participate, in a prohibited boycott.”
Vukmir said in a statement, “Boycotts of Israel must be fought because they do not just attack the Jewish state. This propaganda campaign is also the basis for newly emboldened and destructive anti-Semitic attitudes.”
“Israel stands as the only democracy in the Middle East, offering a voice not only to the Jewish citizens of Israel, but to all citizens of Israel regardless of their age, race, sex or religion,” Kooyenga said. “This bill demonstrates that Wisconsin is serious about standing with Israel, as our republic has since Israel’s founding nearly 70 years ago.”