The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Arkansas’ anti-BDS law violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution, because it plainly does.
“The Arkansas Times has successfully challenged a law that prohibits the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel,” Mondoweiss reports. “The Little Rock-based weekly filed the lawsuit in 2018 and was represented by the ACLU. The paper takes no official position on BDS, but it launched the legal challenge after the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College refused to sign an advertising contract with The Arkansas Times, unless it signed the pledge. A U.S. district court judge dismissed the case in 2019, but last week the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found the law unconstitutional in a 2-1 decision.”
“One of the greatest threats to free speech are laws banning state contracts with any company or citizen advocating a boycott of Israel,” tweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald of the ruling. “Every court to review them, except one, declared them unconstitutional. That sole court just got overruled: good news. These laws, which proliferated in numerous states, haven’t received the attention they deserve given what a grave threat to free speech they pose.”
One of the greatest threats to free speech are laws banning state contracts with any company or citizen advocating a boycott of Israel. Every court to review them, except one, declared them unconstitutional. That sole court just got overruled: good news.https://t.co/mds7J36XCZ pic.twitter.com/zMS0ocCaz2
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 16, 2021
This is an important victory for civil rights defenders and for Palestinian rights activists, but it’s just one battle in a much larger war.
In a recent article titled “Biden officials pledge to fight BDS“, Electronic Intifada‘s Josh Ruebner documents the “vitriolic opposition” which various members of the current administration have voiced against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions protest movement against the Israeli government’s flagrant violations of international law and its apartheid abuses of the Palestinian people, and the administration’s support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism which civil rights advocates criticize as “a pretext to smear and censor supporters of Palestinian rights.”
The Biden administration “embraces and champions” the so-called IHRA definition of anti-Semitism,