Austin Knudsen

Montana Stands With Israel

HELENA, Mont – Speaking to the importance of the nation of Israel as an economic and Democratic partner, Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen’s bill to deny the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Montana will move to the House floor tomorrow.

House Bill 501 will prevent the State of Montana from doing business with a company that supports the BDS movement. The bill today passed through the House and will now be heard in the Senate.

“This bill is simply good policy to set for our state and sends the message that we will not send our taxpayer dollars to companies which chose to participate in the boycotting and sanctioning of one of our nation’s strongest allies,” Knudsen stated. “Israel is not only a key diplomatic, military and economic partner for the United States; it is the ONLY culturally diverse Democracy in the Middle East. My bill shows that we – as Montanans, as Americans – do not support this harmful movement.”

HB 501 has received strong support from Montana’s business and Jewish communities.

“BDS is nothing less than modern day anti-Semitism. Seventy years ago people would publically say ‘the Jews aren’t human’ and today they say ‘Israel is inhumane.’ It’s the same message and the same hatred, just different language. It’s ironic, if not infuriating, that the same people who are silent about the genocide in Syria, the hangings in Iran and the child labor atrocities throughout Asia are condemning Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and America’s only true ally in that region,” Rabbi Chaim Bruk stated. “I applaud Speaker Knudsen for taking the lead on this very important issue, and the Montana Legislature for standing with the Jewish people in Montana and their eternal bond with Israel.”

Rabbi Chaim Bruk and his wife Chavie together founded Chabad Lubavitch of Montana, the state’s only Jewish outreach organization.

“The Montana Chamber has long supported increased trade with Israel. In fact, we’re participating in a trade mission there in May. Promoting business with Israel is good for business in Montana. We appreciate Speaker Knudsen’s support of our friend in the Middle East,” stated Webb Brown, Montana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.

Other states that have passed similar legislation include: Georgia, Florida, Illinois, South Carolina, Indiana, Arizona, California, Ohio and Nevada.

BDS is an anti-Israel political movement that stands for Boycott, Divesting and Sanctioning the nation of Israel. Its aim is to wage a political, economic, cultural and ideological campaign to delegitimize the State of Israel.


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