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Noem Orders State to Boycott Businesses Who Boycott Israel

In 2016, Senate candidate Al Novstrup said “the low point” of his memories of being a legislator was hearing a candidate propose a boycott of businesses based on political disagreement. “That’s breaking relationships,” said Novstrup with grave disdain.

Now in his eighteenth year in Pierre, I can understand that Senator Novstrup may have trouble remembering all the arguments of convenience he’s made. But if properly reminded of his 2016 campaign-trail lament, Senator Novstrup will likely find it highly inconvenient to criticize Governor Kristi Noem for signing an executive order breaking relationships with businesses that do not support her political position on Israel:

Governor Kristi Noem today signed an executive order that joins 27 other states in condemning Anti-Semitism and standing against the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The Executive Order directs state entities not to contract with businesses supporting the BDS campaign.

“Israel is one of our nation’s closest allies, and their success is critical to American national security,” said Noem. “Today, we reaffirm that South Dakota stands with Israel and will only contract with businesses who agree to fairly compete. Our state will not stand for any discrimination based on race or religion.”

…Noem’s Executive Order requires contractors and bidders to certify that they are not participating in the BDS movement when the subject of the state contract is related to the contractor’s boycott activities. Contractors and bidders who employ more than five people and are contracting for goods or services exceeding $100,000 must make the certification. The Order does not apply to individuals who choose to exercise a boycott by their own consumer purchases. Contractors and bidders should expect to see the certification requirement in new contracts or in responses to requests for proposal in the next 30 days [Governor Kristi Noem’s office, press release, 2020.01.14].

Governor Kristi Noem's first order of business in the 2020 Legislative Session: boycotts and foreign policy! photo from Governor Kristi Noem, Twitter, 2020.01.14.
Governor Kristi Noem’s first order of business in the 2020 Legislative Session: boycotts and foreign policy! photo from Governor Kristi Noem, Twitter, 2020.01.14.

Now if someone out there is really promulgating hatred against Jews or exercising other forms of vile bigotry and oppression, I’m all for saying, “No juicy contracts for you, Hitler!” There’s no disputing that anti-Semitism is bad, but there’s a political component here where reasonable people can differ without being Nazis. One can recognize the right of Israel to exist and, at the same time, point out that Israel abuses human rights. Business who take that position may feel that economic pressure is a reasonable way to encourage Israel to pursue more humane policies in the territories it occupies.

That a state can punish private businesses for exercising free speech in a way that falls short of racism, sexism, or other discrimination is questionable. That a state can appeal to national security interests, which are determined by Congress and the White House, not the states, seems even more problematic. Suppose Minnesota’s Legislature and Governor decided that opposing Israel’s further expansion into the West Bank is in the national interest and starts denying state contracts to anyone who does business with Israel. (Uh oh—whom would Broadhead choose?) Can we really have states actively promoting different foreign policy goals, or are we on the verge of the Commerce Clause riding in and saying, “Whoa, Kristi!”?

We can be sure Senator Novstrup won’t be riding in to say that. As with all of his other conditional positions, boycotts are bad when they threaten his power and just fine when they don’t.


  1. grudznick 2020-01-19 16:26

    Mr. Novstrup, the elder, is a highly effective and congenial fellow in the legislatures. That does irk some, and irk some it does.

  2. Richard Schriever 2020-01-19 16:27

    Noem says. “(Israel’s) success is critical to American national security.” Huh? Can someone explain how this is true?

  3. mike from iowa 2020-01-19 16:30

    condemning Anti-Semitism and standing against the Boycotts,

    Two entirely separate issues and Israel needs to be condemned for all its human rights abuses against Palestinian people and its illegal seizure of lands for settlements.

    Saddam hHussein violated 14 UN resolutiions before dumbass dubya just had to attack him. How many has Israel violated, with our help?

  4. Buckobear 2020-01-19 17:37

    Not to mention their “dear leader” has been indicted for corruption. Isn’t Bibi a good friend of the orange slush ?? (Or maybe if he’s convicted, King donald will say “don’t know him. Who ??”

  5. leslie 2020-01-19 18:44

    Kristi goes out to DC to support Impeached Trump and returns with Red playbook

  6. jerry 2020-01-19 21:02

    Must be thousands upon thousands of South Dakota businesses that will be told to stop coddling Iran with their contracts or else, they will be Epsteined. The new forms that will be now be printed for conformity, will be third partied out to an advertising firm from Minneapolis or some other place, other than here, at a cost of a little over a million, give or take. These will then be scrutinized by the Attorney General’s office…that will require the hiring of at least a dozen well qualified trumpers who will know how to take a bribe and be damn happy about kickbacks. The grifting will continue until, well until.

    Does that mean that the leader of the SDGOP will lose his job because of his $10,000.00 a month grift?

  7. Debbo 2020-01-19 22:46

    “condemning Anti-Semitism and standing against the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign”
    These 2 things are not the same, as Mike said.

    Netanyahu is just about as corrupt as Blubbering Buffoon, as Buckobear said.

    (Jeez. I come late to the game and you’ve already taken all the good stuff. Okay, how about this one?)

    “Our state will not stand for any discrimination based on race or religion.”
    Did anyone else laugh upon reading this?

    Any communication from Klueless Kristi, Al Nostrap or the SDGOP as a whole is best read with a well rested and highly functional sense of irony.

  8. Marvin Kammerer 2020-01-20 10:39

    i am not antisemitic but am damn sure antizionist. it seems to me that the zionists picked up the german brownshirts when they left europe!

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-20 13:24

    Careful, Marvin—Kristi Noem will refuse to do business with you.

  10. Bob Newland 2020-01-20 19:14

    I have not received a SoDak gummint contract in more than 45 years. I suspect a military industrial complex/SoDak blacklist.

  11. grudznick 2020-01-20 19:40

    Bob, you do know why our common old friend, Mr. Fleming, no longer blogs here, don’t you? While he’s not a corporate narc, like you, which is much like working for The Man, he is working directly for The Man. He sports “gummint contracts” that make yours pale. I do miss Bill, but he can only associate with the likes of us in the dark of night these days. It’s a big hit, for a libbie like Bill, but money is money and big money is, I guess, big money.

  12. Porter Lansing 2020-01-20 20:19

    I talk to Bill and Susan all the time. They’re having an artist reception on January 31 at 5:00 pm at Dahl. Your fear and hiding from new things is why you’re such a putz, grudznarc.

  13. grudznick 2020-01-20 20:48

    Say hi to Bill for me, Mr. Lansing, and ask him how he feels about the “Meth” advertising contract going to that Minnesota outfit. After all, Bill only has several million dollars worth of anti-drug and anti-toking advertising contracts in his own hand.

    Here’s just one, for about a cool mil of doing nothing. Good to know about the reception. I’d attend and sip some wine and eat some free cheeses, except grudznick is banned from the Dahl for reasons that don’t matter here.

  14. Porter Lansing 2020-01-20 21:13

    Will do, grudz. What’s your real name, then? BTW … didn’t you say you NEVER use blue links? Hmmmm

  15. grudznick 2020-01-20 21:16

    Bill knows. He always knows. He’s damn near like a libbie Santa Claus.

  16. Porter Lansing 2020-01-20 21:24

    I heard living in RapTown is just like Christmas. Except your Dad ain’t drunk and your Mama ain’t cryin’. :)

  17. Donald Pay 2020-01-20 22:02

    I’ve gone back and forth on the Israeli BDS issue. I don’t think it is anti-semitic, but I question the value of the strategy, at least as I understand or don’t understand it. I can’t figure out what the demand is, because it seems many in the movement have different ideas. I know BDS can be effective, because apartheid was defeated by it and other tactics, but that tactic actually originated from within South Africa. The demand in South Africa was simple: end apartheid. The demand in the grape boycott was simple: bargain with the union. The Israeli-Palestinian issue is very complex and solving it with a simple demand that everyone can agree to seems impossible. At best, you could get everyone to agree to this: negotiate a step-by-step solution in ten years. It seems rather a lame demand to put all the energy into it. I see the value of trying to move Israel to a more reasoned position, though, and maybe that’s a good enough reason to support it.

  18. Porter Lansing 2020-01-20 22:26

    BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes.

  19. Debbo 2020-01-20 23:19

    The best option for Israel right now is throw their criminal leader in jail. Then elect a moderate or liberal government and maybe they can make progress towards peace. It’s not going to happen with fear/hate/war monger Netanyahu sitting at the head of the Knesset.

  20. leslie 2020-01-21 21:43

    Grdz does lobbiest Jeremiah murphy represent tobacco in the state?

  21. Porter Lansing 2020-01-21 22:27

    Leslie – Yes, he does. He represents Altria who is Phillip Morris – Lorillard, and Reynolds Tobacco
    Jeremiah M Murphy lobbies for booze, cattle, cigarettes, teachers, and nurses

  22. Debbo 2020-01-21 23:58

    But nurses and teachers, professions dominated by women in SD, ought to reconsider being represented by such a misogynist. I’m sure they can do much better.

  23. Porter Lansing 2020-01-22 12:18

    I’m not their advisor, Debbo but … as a salesman, if I had alcohol, steaks, and cigars to hand out to the vultures in the Republican Party of South Dakota, I’ll wager I could get affirmative votes for the things teachers and nurses need in that pit of inequity that Pierre embodies.

  24. Debbo 2020-01-22 14:06

    Yep. They can be bought, as regular evidence shows.

  25. Clyde 2020-02-09 22:12

    First order of business…..kinda says a lot on who is really running the country.

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