(Concord, New Hampshire - July 06, 2023) — StandWithUs congratulates New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and representatives from 42 states for taking a firm and principled stand against yet another biased report by the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) never-ending Commission of Inquiry (COI) dedicated to finding fault with Israel. On June 8, 2023, COI continued its anti-Israel bigotry in a report that mischaracterized and attacked anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) laws in U.S. states.
Sununu responded to the COI report with an executive order that both blocks state agencies from awarding contracts to entities boycotting Israel and that also adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. StandWithUs Mid-Atlantic Director Julie Paris and Ambassador Gilad Erdan, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, attended the ceremony.
The executive order prohibits the state from contracting with entities that engage in discriminatory conduct against Israel. It does not impinge upon freedom of speech. Sununu issued the executive order to “protect [New Hampshire’s] economic interests and the trade” from “bad investments, unstable contracting partners,” and “spending taxpayer funds in ways that undermine public policies that protect against discrimination.” The executive order is a clear statement that “New Hampshire’s state government cannot tolerate interference with [its] economic interests and state affairs by outside bad actors.
”StandWithUs also commends state legislators from 42 U.S. states who issued a letter rejecting the COI on Israel, its authority, and its most recent biased report against Israel. The COI’s report has drawn ire from state legislators nationwide after it falsely suggested that anti-boycott laws in the United States—designed to combat national origin discrimination against Israelis—were subject to foreign influence and targeted free speech. These accusations are false and have since been received by legislators as an “unwelcome intrusion into [their] states’ affairs and democratic processes.”
StandWithUs is grateful to South Carolina’s Rep. Beth Bernstein (D-SC) and former Rep. Judge Alan Clemmons (R-SC) for garnering the signatures of state legislators from 42 states on their letter, which rejects the “COI on Israel’s assertion of authority, legitimacy, and findings” and calls on Congressional delegations to “terminate all U.S. funding to the COI and its related cohorts.” Representatives Bernstein and Judge Clemmons were founding sponsors of the first anti-BDS bill to pass a state legislature.
Roz Rothstein, CEO and co-founder of StandWithUs, said, “The executive order and letter signed by lawmakers are important gestures indicative of legislators’ growing frustration with the COI and reflect a growing push to stop funding the UNHRC mandate, which has no end date and no boundaries when it comes to scapegoating Israel. The state legislators behind these initiatives are looking for their federal counterparts to revive the COI Elimination Act (HR 211). StandWithUs has been consistently working to raise awareness regarding the COI’s antisemitism and systemic double standards against only Israel, and we look forward to seeing how these recent state developments might help guide Congressional action toward eliminating COI.”
Paris was encouraged by the firm resolve to reject antisemitism and anti-Israel bias promoted by the UNHRC. “Having legislators from across the country make it clear that U.S. states, and not international bodies, determine U.S. law sends a critical message to biased bodies such as the UNHRC,” she said.
Erdan expressed his gratitude on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people. “Although the State of Israel has never asked a U.S. state to pass an anti-BDS law, we are heartened to see that most Americans value close ties between Israel and the U.S. and reject yet another sham report about Israel.” He underscored that combating BDS is not only in Israel’s interest but also in America’s. “This hateful movement is national origin discrimination at its worst. It promotes bigotry and discrimination as a political tool, and it perverts basic notions of what is right and just in today’s world. The BDS Movement is not only anti-Israel; it is anti-American.”
Erdan noted that the BDS Movement hurts people across the world. “It harms Palestinians by denying them peace, normalization, and related economic opportunities that would benefit their families and their quality of life. Worse than that … BDS would deny people all around the world access to life-saving Israeli health technology, to the medicines we develop, to the disaster relief and water and agricultural advances we innovate. … The goal of BDS is to harm Israel at everyone’s expense.”
StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, nonprofit, and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films, and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs throughout the U.S., Israel, the UK, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, and the Netherlands.
For the last eleven years, StandWithUs has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator and GuideStar, two charity watchdog groups that assess hundreds of thousands of charities in the United States.