Gov. Matt Bevin signed Kentucky’s anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) legislation in the State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky on August 27.
The signing was primarily ceremonial since the law went into effect when it was passed by the state legislature during its last session, codifying into law Executive Order 2018-905 made by Gov. Bevin last November. It reflects official opposition by the commonwealth to doing business with significant contractors who participate in boycotts of the State of Israel.
Jewish organizations in the state, such as Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL), claim such calls are mildly veiled antisemitsm as reported by the Jewish Louisville community newspaper.
Matt Goldberg, director of the JCRC, said, “We are thankful for the many Kentucky citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who made this possible.”
Guests at the ceremony included US Rep. Andy Barr (R- Kentucky) and state Senate President Robert Stivers, Frank Weisberg, Leon Wahba, rabbis from Chabad of the Bluegrass and Kentucky and representatives from Christians United for Israel (CUFI).
“My colleagues and I condemn the BDS movement, and we have sent a letter to the Office of Foreign Asset Control requesting an update on ... organizations engaged in antisemitic hate against our allies in Israel and the Jewish people worldwide,” said Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) at the signing ceremony, according to the Jewish wire service JNS.
Kentucky becomes the 26th state out of the 50 states in the US to pass an anti-BDS law.
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations chairman Arthur Stark and executive vice chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein praised the “signing of Senate Bill 143 last week, which allows Kentucky to deny contracts to companies that engage in efforts to boycott Israel."
Stark and Hoenlein further noted, “Kentucky is the 26th state to enact legislation combating the viciously antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. We look forward to the remaining 24 states rejecting the pernicious BDS campaign in the days ahead.”