- The First Amendment is Under Serious Assault in Order to Stifle Anti-Israel Boycotts
Assaults on freedom speech can be found in many aspects of American life these days, but one specific area that isn’t getting the attention it deserves relates to boycotts against Israel. Increasingly, we’re seeing various regional governments requiring citizens to agree to what essentially amounts to a loyalty pledge to a foreign government in order to participate in or receive government services.I’m going to highlight two troubling examples of this, both covered by Israeli paper Haaretz. The first relates to Kansas. From the article, In America, the Right to Boycott Israel Is Under Threat:
The First Amendment squarely protects the right to boycott. Lately, though, a legislative assault on that right has been spreading through the United States – designed to stamp out constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel…
Over the past several years, state and federal legislatures have considered dozens of bills, and in some cases passed laws, in direct violation of this important ruling. These bills and laws vary in numerous respects, but they share a common goal of scaring people away people from participating in boycotts meant to protest Israeli government policies, including what are known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.
Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging one of those laws — a Kansas statute requiring state contractors to sign a statement certifying that they do not boycott Israel, including boycotts of companies profiting off settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.