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Council on American-Islamic Relations, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund & Journalist Abby Martin Sue State of Georgia Over Unconstitutional Israeli Loyalty Law

American journalist Abby Martin has joined with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) to sue the U.S. state of Georgia over their Israeli loyalty law, a law that critics point out is unconstitutional.

It was last month that Georgia blocked The Empire Files creator from participating in a media conference at Georgia Southern University when Martin refused to sign a pledge not to boycott the apartheid state of Israel. The university asked for the pledge to comply with anti-Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) law.

Following the move at censorship, Martin has joined with CAIR and PCJF to file suit against the University System of Georgia over the unconstitutionality of the decision and law.

“This censorship of my talk based on forced compliance to anti-BDS laws in Georgia is just one level of a nationwide campaign to protect Israel from grassroots pressure. We must stand firmly opposed to these efforts and not cower in fear to these blatant violations of free speech.”

Abby Martin

The impending lawsuit is the latest challenge to the law which was passed by former Governor Nathan Deal in 2016. The law requires any entity that enters into a contract with the State of Georgia worth US$1,000 or more to pledge not to engage in political boycotts of Israel. 28 states have adopted such laws since 2014.

At the end of last year, Donald Trump signed an executive order that allows the American government to interpret Judaism as both a race or nationality and religion. The order will allow the Education Department to take direct action against Palestinian activists and the BDS movement on college campuses. Activists have called the decision antisemitic as it conflates Judaism with the actions of the widely condemned Israeli government.

The moves by the American regime to enforce American citizens to not boycott a foreign state that has been referred to the International Criminal Court has been widely condemned as an affront to freedom of speech, thought and expression.

“By cancelling a journalist’s speaking engagement on a college campus because she refused to pledge support for a foreign government, the State of Georgia has blatantly violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech”

Edward Ahmed Mitchell, CAIR-Georgia Executive Director

The peaceful BDS movement was founded in 2005 by 170 Palestinian unions, political parties, refugee networks, and women’s organizations, among others. The movement was inspired by the successful boycott of apartheid South Africa and has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“There is no place where free speech is more important than on campus. And this attempt to suppress Abby’s views – denying students, academics, and others from hearing her lecture – is as brazen as it is illegal. In adopting this anti-BDS law, Georgia has prioritized the policy preferences of a foreign country over the free speech rights of Americans, like Abby, who speak on this state’s college campuses.”

Gadeir Abbas, CAIR Legal Defense Fund Senior Litigation Attorney

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

“Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.”

BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Since its launch in 2005, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.

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