Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation
WISCONSIN JEWISH FEDERATIONS STATEMENT ON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ORDER
October 27, 2017 – The Milwaukee and Madison Jewish Federations commend Governor Walker for signing Executive Order #261 today. The order makes Wisconsin the 24th state to take action against the discriminatory measures of the Boycott Divestments and Sanctions movement.
“We thank Governor Walker and all the state legislators who have shown leadership on this issue,” said Michael Blumenfeld, director of the Wisconsin Jewish Conference, which represents the state Jewish community. “The state Jewish community has had significant concerns about the impact of BDS. This order addresses and satisfies the issue.”
“The order protects Wisconsin’s economy from efforts to restrict trade with Israel,” said Elana Kahn, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. “It affirms Wisconsin’s economic, business and cultural relationship with Israel.”
“BDS initiatives sever economic ties between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors, and therefore are counter-productive to developing a long-term lasting peaceful solution,” said Hannah Rosenthal, President and CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
“We know that the ultimate goal of boycotting Israel is not to promote peace and justice, nor to bring Israelis and Palestinians closer to a solution, but to sow division, shut down exchanges and cooperation, and ultimately to challenge Israel’s legitimacy,” Rosenthal added.
Jewish Federation of Madison Executive Director Paula Winnig added, “The order sends a significant message against hatred and discrimination by outlawing and condemning discrimination against Israel and Israelis.”
Wisconsin has long been a trading partner with Israel. In 2009, then Governor Jim Doyle signed an agreement with Israel to promote collaboration in research and development of water technologies. Gov. Walker, who is now leading a 15-member trade mission, is continuing this important, bipartisan work.
The Israel Action Network also praised the order. William Daroff, Senior Vice President of the Jewish Federations of North America, said, “By issuing this executive order, Governor Walker and the State of Wisconsin have firmly taken a stand against the BDS movement and its discriminatory policies against Israeli businesses and individuals, which undermines Middle East peace. Wisconsin is the 24th state to ensure that efforts to isolate and delegitimize Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, are unable to gain a foothold. They are making it clear that supporting Israel is not only in our state’s interests, but also in America’s interest as well.”