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Governor Larry Hogan Signs Executive Order Strengthening Maryland’s Opposition to BDS Movement Against Israel

Reaffirms Maryland’s Economic, Trade, and Cultural Partnership with Israel

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today signed Executive Order 01.01.2017.25, prohibiting all executive branch agencies from entering into contracts or conducting official state business with any entity unless they certify that they will not engage in a boycott of Israel during the duration of the contract. The executive order further strengthens Maryland’s opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a discriminatory campaign designed to undermine global trade with Israel. Maryland has had a decades-long, fruitful relationship with Israel that was further cemented in 2016 when Governor Hogan led a delegation of state officials, business leaders, and Jewish community leaders on a cultural and economic development trade mission to the country.

“Israel is a robust democracy with many rights and freedoms that don’t exist in neighboring countries, or across much of the world,” said Governor Hogan. “The shameful BDS movement seeks to undercut those rights and freedoms, using economic discrimination and fear, by boycotting Israeli companies and prohibiting them from doing business in the United States.

“The goals of this movement run counter to the strong economic relationship that Maryland has sustained with our friends and partners in Israel. As long as I am governor of Maryland, there is no place in our state for boycotts and threats which seek to undermine sincere dialogue, compromise, and cooperation.”

The governor also publicly called on the Board of Trustees of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System to take divestment action with regard to any companies that hold investments with entities who participate in the BDS movement.

Last year, the Hogan administration sent a letter to American Jewish Committee Director Alan Ronkin reaffirming its support for Israel against the proponents of the BDS movement, and Governor Hogan joined governors from all 50 states in signing the American Jewish Committee’s Governor’s Pledge against BDS. In addition, the administration testified in favor of the anti-BDS bill sponsored by Senator Bobby Zirkin and Delegate Ben Kramer during the 2017 legislative session.

“The State of Israel is thankful for the steadfast support of Governor Hogan and the people of Maryland against those who wish to delegitimize it,” said Reuven Azar, Deputy Head of Mission, Israeli Embassy.

“Maryland and Israel are great partners in innovation especially in life sciences, advanced technologies, and now cyber security, with products that are saving lives and helping people,” said Barry Bogage, Executive Director of the Maryland/Israel Development Center. “We applaud Gov. Hogan’s actions to fight the BDS movement against Israel so our economic partnership can continue to grow and thrive.”

“This executive order stands up against companies that seek to delegitimize the democratic State of Israel and negate the right of Israel to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people through discriminatory business practices,” said Howard Libit, Executive Director of the Baltimore Jewish Council. “We are grateful to Governor Hogan and his administration for taking this vital action and proud to know that state funding will not be used to support the discrimination and unfair business practices of the BDS movement.”

“The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington greatly appreciates Governor Hogan’s steadfast commitment and leadership in strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship and the ties between our state and Israel,” said Ron Halber, Executive Director of the JCRC. “From his incredibly successful economic mission one year ago, to today’s executive order banning companies that participate in the anti-Semitic BDS movement from securing contracts with Maryland, the governor has once again proved himself to be a true friend of the state of Israel and the Jewish community.”

“As Chair of the Board of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, I commend Governor Hogan and his administration for their vocal strength of support and the signing of this significant executive order on behalf of our state of Maryland,” said Linda Hurwitz. “All of us in the Baltimore Jewish community are proud to live in a state with such a sustained record of collaboration and cooperation with Israel.”

“The American Jewish Committee commends Governor Hogan for taking this important step, which reaffirms the strong bonds between Maryland and Israel,” said Alan Ronkin, Executive Director of the AJC. “We appreciate his rejection of Israel boycotts and his continued support for the Maryland/Israel relationship.”

The governor’s executive order is in line with longstanding policy against discriminatory boycotts enforced by numerous federal laws. Israel is a vital ally of the United States and a valuable trading partner with Maryland. The state is home to over 30 Israeli businesses, and the export relationship between Maryland and Israel reached a record high in 2015, with more than $145 million in product exports.

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