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Thursday, June 1, 2023

US Supreme Court Upholds State Law Prohibiting Contractors from Boycotting Israel

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had previously asked the Supreme Court to strike down the Arkansas law

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UNITED STATES: The US Supreme Court upheld an Arkansas statute that forbade boycotts of Israel and served as a template for several laws protecting oil firms, gun manufacturers, and other controversial businesses from political protest movements.

Although a federal court upheld legislation forcing Alan Leveritt, editor of the Arkansas Times, to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel to receive advertising contracts from the state, the high court declined to hear his appeal.

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had previously asked the Supreme Court to strike down the Arkansas law. It conflicts with the court’s own decision from 40 years ago that boycotts by the general public are protected speech under the First Amendment because they have a long history in American history.

It is one of more than 30 state laws that have recently been approved, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike, and which demand that anybody doing business with the state commit not to boycott Israel or its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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The regulations, supported by the Israeli government and promoted by organisations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) and the American Jewish Committee, are primarily directed towards the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. They have, however, also offered a model for legislation to stop company boycotts over topics like climate catastrophe, gun control, industrial farming, and others.

Leveritt claimed he had no plans to boycott Israel because his publication had no economic dealings with the country. But he refused to sign the declaration because it required the Arkansas Times to take a political position in return for advertising.

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When the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, the editor said he was upset and that it would not alter his stance.

Also Read: Supreme Court Determines the Protocol for Brexit in Northern Ireland is Legal

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