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State contractors could not boycott Israel under Kansas bill

Kansas House Passes Anti-BDS Bill

April 5
TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas House approved a bill that would prohibit the state from awarding contracts to companies that are participating in any boycott of Israel.The House passed the measure Wednesday on a 116-9 vote.

Similar policies in 17 states are intended to slow a Boycott, Divest and Sanction, or BDS, movement backed by pro-Palestinian freedom groups . Supporters of the movement say it’s a way to promote Palestinian human rights, but pro-Israeli groups call it discrimination.

Supporters contend the laws don’t prohibit free speech because individuals and companies can still criticize Israel, or they can boycott it as long as they’re not vying for the state’s business. But the state shouldn’t “subsidize or reward discriminatory behavior,” said Jacob Millner, Midwest regional director and senior policy analyst for the Israel Project.

Republican state Rep. William Sutton, who has called the boycotts an “economic attack” on Israel, said the bill would protect Kansas’ trading relationship with the Middle Eastern country.

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