Missouri governor signs anti-BDS bill into law

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) legislation into law Monday. (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images) 

By Eric Berger, Associate Editor

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signedbill Monday that requires companies entering into a contract with the state to certify that they are not, and will not, engage in a boycott of Israel.

The law, which applies to companies worth over $100,000 with 10 or more employees, comes after pro-Israel lawmakers and advocates tried repeatedly in recent years to pass anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement legislation in the state, but previous attempts have failed in part because of opposition from lawmakers concerned that it violates people’s rights to free speech.

“This law is about trade not politics, and it has the potential to create jobs and economic growth for Missourians, Palestinians and Israelis,” American Jewish Committee (AJC) St. Louis Director Nancy Lisker stated in a press release. “We are grateful for the leadership of Governor Parson and for the dogged determination of its lead sponsors, [State Sen. Bob Onder and State Rep. Holly Rehder, both Republicans], for championing this important legislation.”

Missouri is one of at least 30 states with anti-BDS laws, according to the Jewish Virtual Library. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has challenged the laws in a number of states on the grounds that they violate individuals’ free speech rights.

Anat Cohen at The Sheldon

Christians United For Israel, an evangelical group which lobbied in support of the legislation, also praised the governor in a press release. 

“We applaud Governor Parson’s (sic) for signing this legislation and making clear that Missouri will not be party to the economic warfare waged by Israel’s detractors. Missourians can now rest assured that their tax dollars will not be used in furtherance of the anti-Semitic movement to boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) Israel,” CUFI founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee stated in a press release. “Even where it masquerades as anti-Zionism we will continue to roll back the anti-Semitic tide that is sweeping across the country.”