ACLU Files Second Lawsuit Challenging Laws Suppressing Boycotts of Israel

Mik Jordahl on a trip to Tel Aviv, Israel.

The ACLU on Thursday filed a challenge to an Arizona law that requires contractors doing business with the state to promise they won’t boycott Israel. This is the second such lawsuit the ACLU has filed in response to a wave of laws across the country designed to suppress constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel.

Thursday’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mikkel Jordahl, an attorney who has contracted with the state for the last 12 years to provide legal services on behalf of incarcerated individuals in Coconino County Jail. Jordahl opposes Israel’s settlement expansion in Palestinian territories and what he considers Israel’s unwillingness to ensure the rights of Palestinians under its rule. As a supporter of boycott campaigns targeting Israel, he refuses to purchase goods and services offered by companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. He wants to extend the boycott to his one-person law firm, Mikkel (Mik) Jordahl P.C., and to provide legal support to other boycott activists.

However, the Arizona law, passed in August 2016, forbids state contractors from engaging in those activities. It directly violates the First Amendment right to political expression, which prohibits the government from compelling political speech as a condition of receiving a benefit, restricting the speech of its contractors, and discriminating against dissenting viewpoints. The Supreme Court affirmed the right to engage in a political boycott in a 1982 decision holding that a 1960s-era boycott of white-owned businesses in Mississippi was protected by the First Amendment.

In October, the ACLU filed a challenge to a similar law in Kansas. That lawsuit was filed on behalf of Esther Koontz, an educator who was contracted by the state to train math teachers and who boycotts Israeli products in response to a resolution passed by her Mennonite church. She refused to sign a contract committing to refrain from boycotting Israel and, as a result, cannot participate in the teacher training program.

Similar contract requirements are on the books in GeorgiaArkansasMinnesotaTexasOhioAlabamaPennsylvaniaMichiganNevadaSouth CarolinaRhode IslandFloridaMaryland, and Wisconsin. A number of laws in other states take aim at Israel boycotts in other ways, and a congressional bill penalizing certain boycotts of Israel has been introduced in Congress. While these laws and provisions differ in some aspects, they all share the unconstitutional goal of squelching legitimate protest activity surrounding a matter of major global significance.

A Kansas court heard arguments on the Koontz case last week, rightfully noting that the state hadn’t even attempted to defend the constitutionality of the state’s anti-boycott law. We wait to see whether Arizona will try to muster any kind of defense.

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Anonymous

It's free speech whether you like it or not. Me I don't like it, it is legal.

Anonymous

To impead on anyone's liberty of peaceful assembly or free speech is to potentially impose limits on everyone's ability to assemble and use their free speech. I am thankful for ACLU and protecting the Bill of Rights, The Constitutions principles and civilian assembly for the actions of freedom and to speak.

One may not aggree with the means of the group however its important in understanding of another s point of view to come to resolve any apposing issues and or concerns.

http://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/
The Bill of Rights – Full Text
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Sincerely,
Anonymous

Fierce Normy

A law against a boycott seems to me (a non lawyer) like a violation of free speech and freedom of assembly. I myself don't approve of boycotting Israel but if people want to do it, I don't think its appropriate for a state government to outlaw such behavior. Rotten behavior on the part of governments is the norm in this world and any piece of property which can't be defended is almost always taken over by others. All of us in America live on stolen land. Its the nature of the human beast.

Anonymous

Great comment.

Anonymous

Why is it the only time the ACLU gets involved in Jewish issues it is to take the anti-Jewish position? You don’t help Jewish students persecuted in American public school systems, and you don’t help college students persecuted on American college campuses. They always ask you for help, and you always say no, but when the opportunity comes to protect those who would harm the world’s only Jewish state? ACLU lawyers and money go pouring in. Why is that? Why don’t Jewish high school students in New York get the attention you’re giving BDS laws in Arizona?

Anonymous

PS: I was not only an ACLU member, but a member of that monthly plan where $10 comes out of my account and goes to the ACLU each month. I quit the ACLU over its treatment of American Jews, so perhaps it is something to look into.

Anonymous

Supporting our nation's relationship with our greatest ally, Israel, is too important in furthering the cause of a Palestinian country and peace in the middle east to allow boycotts to muddy the waters and elongate the conflict.

Dr. Joseph Goebbels

I am a Zionist, myself, I think all those yids should move to Israel.

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