On Thursday, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit arguing that an Arizona anti-boycott law violates the First Amendment. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mikkel Jordhal, a lawyer whose solely-owned law firm contracts with the state to represent indigent inmates. In order to contract with the state, Jordhal was required to certify that his law firm did not participate in boycotts of Israel.
This is the second lawsuit challenging a state anti-boycott law on First Amendment grounds.
In a hearing last Friday on a preliminary injunction challenging Kansas’ anti-boycott statute, the federal judge was reported to have said, “I don’t see, in all candor, that [the Kansas anti-boycott law] is constitutional.” Kansas officials made no attempt to argue that the law is constitutional.
“Anti-BDS laws don’t have a bright future,” said Palestine Legal Director Dima Khalidi. “Those who are moved to advocate for boycotts at a time when it is clearer than ever that the US and Israeli governments have no intention to negotiate a just peace based on equality and freedom for Palestinians, be comforted that your right to boycott is protected.”
Last Friday also marked one year since New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s anti-boycott ‘blacklist’ was released. After much fanfare with the signing of his executive order in June 2016, Cuomo’s blacklist was posted online late on a Friday evening in 2016 without so much as a press release. It was heavily ridiculed in the media, in part because the blacklist itself was a dud, listing only a handful of foreign companies. All 14 companies listed remain foreign.