On May 17, 2017, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) announced that their Governers United Against BDS initiative had successfully earned the support of Governers from all 50 states and the Mayor of Washington D.C. Please find the letter that was signed by all 50 Governors and the Mayor of Washington D.C. below.
We, the undersigned Governors, reject efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel—America’s democratic ally in the Middle East— through the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
The goals of the BDS movement are antithetical to our values and the values of our respective states. They seek to isolate Israel—a pluralistic nation with deep cultural, familial, security, educational, scientific and commercial bonds with our state and with the United States as a whole—rather than recognize the profound mutual benefits of our engagement with it. They malign a trusted ally that, while forced to defend itself against repeated and ongoing attempts to annihilate it, has consistently extended its hand in peace to its Palestinian neighbors and to states across the Middle East and around the world.
Significantly, the BDS movement would also undermine peacemaking by suggesting that economic and political pressure on Israel can replace real negotiation. We recognize that a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been painfully elusive, but reaffirm our commitment to the principle of two states for two peoples, existing side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition, and achieved through direct, bilateral negotiations.
Israel is a robust democracy with many rights and freedoms that do not exist in neighboring countries—or in much of the world. Yet, while fundamental rights are trampled and atrocities are committed routinely not far beyond its borders, BDS supporters focus only on Israel. Israel’s policies, like the policies of any nation, may be subject to criticism and debate, but the BDS movement’s single-minded focus on the Jewish State raises serious questions about its motivations and intentions.
At this critical time, in the face of the virulent movement to promote anti-Israel boycotts both in this country and around the globe, we strongly condemn the BDS movement as incompatible with the values of our states and our country. Likewise, we reaffirm our support for Israel as a vital U.S. ally, important economic partner and champion of freedom.
Governors United Against BDS, AJC, (May 17, 2017)