Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 37 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/27/19

District Judge Strikes Down Texas Anti-Israeli Boycott Law

Author 65550
Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
Become a Fan
  (11 fans)

Judge Pitman of the Western District of Texas Thursday (April 25) issued a 56-page opinion striking down H.B. 89, the Texas Anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Act, as facially unconstitutional.

The court held that the Texas Anti-BDS Act "threatens to suppress unpopular ideas" and "manipulate the public debate" on Israel and Palestine "through coercion rather than persuasion." The court concluded: "This the First Amendment does not allow."

Every single "No Boycott of Israel" clause in every single state contact in Texas has today been stricken as unconstitutional. The Attorney General of Texas is no longer permitted to include or enforce "No Boycott of Israel" clauses in any state contract.

Judge Pitman's order came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), on behalf of Bahia Amawi, a Texas speech language pathologist who lost her job because she refused to sign a "No Boycott of Israel" clause.

Arizona & Kansas Laws

In September 2018, a federal court blocked Arizona from enforcing its anti-boycott law, finding that the law likely violates the First Amendment. A federal court also issued a preliminary injunction against Kansas' enforcement of its anti-boycott law.

In January 2018, issuing the first decision of its kind, a federal judge blocked enforcement of a Kansas law targeting boycotts of Israel, ruling in an ACLU lawsuit that the First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.

The Kansas law requires that any person or company that contracts with the state sign a statement that they are "not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel." The ACLU brought the lawsuit in October 2017 on behalf of Esther Koontz, a schoolteacher who refused to sign the certification.

Kansas ruling to address the wave of laws nationwide aiming to punish people who boycott Israel. It correctly recognized that forcing an individual to choose between exercising their rights and contracting with the state is unconstitutional.

Esther Koontz is a veteran math teacher and trainer who was told she would need to sign the certification statement in order to participate in a state program training other math teachers. She boycotts consumer goods and services produced by Israeli companies and international companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories to protest the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians and to pressure the government to change its policies.

Anti-Boycott legislation around the country

In response to the growing movement for Palestinian freedom, over 100 measures targeting boycotts and other advocacy for Palestinian rights have been introduced in state and local legislatures and the U.S. Congress since 2014. As of April 10, 2019, 27 states have adopted anti-boycott laws, including five executive orders issued by governors.

Palestine Legal and other civil rights groups are fighting back. Flagging potential constitutional violations, federal courts have already stopped two states from enforcing these laws. Lawmakers in Kansas and Arizona have opted to change the laws to avoid the litigation.

Anti-boycott laws have been enacted in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky* Louisiana*, Maryland*, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York*, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin*.

*The governors of Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York and Wisconsin signed anti-boycott executive orders.

Although BDS hasn't inflicted significant economic damage on Israel, the movement's increasing visibility especially on some American college campuses has alarmed Israelis and their supporters in the United States. Many supporters of Israel have sought to portray the BDS movement as anti-Semitic.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

 

Must Read 2   Supported 2   Valuable 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Abdus-Sattar Ghazali Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Pakistan's first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated by America

U.S. Muslims condemn killings of American diplomats in Libya

Are we living in Orwell's 1984 Oceania surveillance state?

Saudi Air Force trainee opens fire at Naval Air Station in Florida killing 3 people

2001-2011: A decade of civil liberties' erosion in America -- Part One

2001-2011: A decade of civil liberties' erosion in America -- Part Two

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: