(February 21, 2023 / JNS) The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to hear a petition from the American Civil Liberties Union in the case of Arkansas Times LP, v. Mark, et al. The case (No. 22-379) centered on whether Arkansas violated federal law by requiring those who contract with the state to sign a statement promising not to boycott Israel for the contract duration.
A federal appeals court had ruled that Arkansas did not violate the constitutional rights of the Arkansas Times by requiring it to avoid boycotting Israel and Israeli companies while a state college advertised in the paper. The ACLU sought to take the case to the Supreme Court, which denied the petition.
The decision drew praise from several pro-Israel organizations.
“Elected officials, business leaders and anti-Israel activists should take note: The American people have spoken, and they are pro-Israel,” stated Christians United for Israel (CUFI). “CUFI applauds the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision today to push back against the effort to use American taxpayer dollars to subsidize economic antisemitism.”
“Today is a great day for the cause of justice,” said Kenneth L. Marcus, founder and chairman of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. “The court put to rest the absurd notion that anti-BDS laws are incompatible with robust protections for the freedom of speech. Anti-Israel boycotts will now be seen for what they are: discriminatory conduct rather than political speech.”
Marc Stern, general counsel at the American Jewish Committee, stated that “the primary aim of the BDS movement is to eliminate the State of Israel. The court’s action gives a boost to efforts to put a stop to the pernicious effort to isolate Israel economically and morally.”
Eugene Kontorovich, a professor and director of George Mason University Scalia Law School’s Center for Middle East and International Law, said the Supreme Court decision “further demonstrates the falseness of claims that these measures harm constitutional values. … Groups that oppose such laws now have a heavy burden explaining how they are not simply providing cover for boycotts of Israelis.”
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