Georgia’s anti-BDS law ‘unconstitutional,’ rules judge

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was quick to celebrate the ruling on Twitter, writing, “Big win for the BDS movement. Let’s go!”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A U.S. federal court struck down a 2016 Georgia law that required state contractors to pledge they would not support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, calling the policy “unconstitutional.”

U.S. district court Judge Mark Cohen said in his ruling that “the requirement… that parties seeking to contract with the state of Georgia sign a certification that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel is unconstitutional compelled speech.”

Abby Martin, a former Russia Today journalist and BDS advocate who said in 2013 that Israel “uses Hitler’s methods against another minority to maintain a Jewish majority,” had filed the suit challenging the law.

In 2017, Martin was slated to speak at Southern Georgia University for a $1,000 fee, but the school backed out of the deal after she refused to sign a statement confirming that she does not support BDS.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), J Street, liberal rabbinical human rights group T’ruah, and the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law School joined Martin in her lawsuit challenging Georgia’s anti-BDS law.

Siding with Martin, Cohen wrote that the law “prohibits inherently expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.

He added that requiring Martin to sign paperwork stating she does not support BDS is “no different than requiring a person to espouse certain political beliefs or to engage in certain political associations.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was quick to celebrate the ruling on Twitter, writing, “Big win for the BDS movement. Let’s go!”

“By standing up against this illegal anti-BDS law, Abby Martin ensures that all Americans have the freedom to stand up for Palestine,” CAIR attorney Gadeir Abbas said in a statement.

In 2009, the CAIR organization was named as an “unindicted conspirator” in an FBI case investigating American citizens funneling funds to the terror group Hamas.

A senior official from an American Jewish organization told The Algemeiner that they expect the law to be reintroduced and passed again in a more legally acceptable form.

“States routinely choose who they contract with based on any number of issues, like gender representation in the workforce or respect for environmental regulations,” the official said.

“It’s no different when it comes to BDS, which is a hate movement that legislatures have rightly said they want nothing to do with.”