The US Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to review an Arkansas state law forcing contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel, leaving the anti-BDS state law to stay in place, The New Arab reported.
The decision has long been expected from the country’s conservative-majority top court, causing concern among rights advocates over what this means for free speech’s future and the right to boycott.
This right has long been largely seen to be implicitly protected under the US constitution’s first amendment guaranteeing free speech.
“The right to free speech includes the right to participate in political boycotts. America was founded on political boycotts, and boycotts are a powerful way to speak and create change,” said Holly Dickson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, in a public statement.
“This state legislative majority wanted the government to have the power to force people to relinquish their First Amendment rights or pay a penalty, and that is a dangerous step backwards for our rights,” Dickson said.
Over the past several years, rights advocates have been raising concerns over the broader implications of anti-BDS state laws, which now number more than 30, saying these laws could have effects beyond the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.
(The New Arab, PC)
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