We salute New Hampshire’s Governor Christopher Sununu’s executive order, issued last week, which prevents state agencies from dealing with entities that support discriminatory boycotts against Israel. New Hampshire is now the 37th state to enact rules against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes commercial discrimination against Israel, its trade partners, and its supporters. At a time when antisemitism grows by the day, this expression of support for the Jewish state is most salutary and welcome.

According to reporting by The Jewish Press, the executive order was apparently prompted by a recent report from the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Israel (COI), which misrepresents governmental anti-BDS measures as attacks on free speech and instigated by Israel. The COI’s report echoes familiar antisemitic tropes such as Jewish dual loyalty.


In fact, what is in play are efforts by states to assert their own freedom of speech, to protect the commercial operations of local companies doing business with Israeli companies, and to prevent the use of taxpayer money to facilitate efforts against them. Indeed, anti-BDS requirements in state contracts are similar to other non-discrimination provisions respecting gender, race, religion, national origin, and veteran status.

There, however, is an interesting sidebar to Governor Sununu’s signal gesture. He is obviously a very accomplished elected official and politician. He is even seriously talked about as a possible near future Republican candidate for President. Now he has certainly burnished his credentials in our community. By most accounts, he is certainly a rising star – yet it has not always been such with the Sununu name.

His father, George Sununu, also served as New Hampshire governor in the 1980s. He self-identified as a third generation American, a Lebanese-American, and an Arab-American. He also periodically called for a more “balanced” American foreign policy in the Middle East, and was the only governor to refuse to sign a resolution in 1986 condemning the odious UN resolution equating Zionism with racism. To be sure, he said his decision was based on procedural grounds and that he strongly supported Republican Party calls for the resolution to be repealed; and Jewish leaders at the time expressed satisfaction with his explanation, if perhaps grudgingly.

After his appointment as Chief of Staff by the first President George Bush in 1988, however, controversy warmed up around him again. He was known for his sharp elbows in dealing with Congress and criticized for his extensive use of military aircraft for personal and political trips. There were several credible reasons to explain the rumors that he would soon lose his job at the White House, but then the Wall Street Journal ran an unattributed tidbit accusing “Israel supporters” of campaigning to force Sununu out. Next, columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak wrote of “Sununu’s suspicion” that he was under fire because he was a Lebanese-American who didn’t fully support “Israel’s demands on the United States.” Then the Washington Post said Sununu was telling associates that his problems were caused by the liberal media, political rivals, resentful underlings, and the Israel lobby. William Safire, one of those who had criticized Sununu, accused him of descending “into the gutter of bigotry.”

For his part, the senior Gov. Sununu denied that he believed there was a Jewish dimension to his problems. Today, we warmly welcome Governor Christopher Sununu to the anti-BDS club.

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articlePopular Podcast Tells The Story Of Israel, One Visionary At A Time
Next articleWhere There’s a Will There’s a Way: Israel Police Rediscovers Law & Order