In contrast, other courts have held boycotts to be protected speech.
By Staff | i24 News | Jan 24, 2019
‘[The Times] may even call upon others to boycott Israel, write in support of such boycotts, and engage in picketing and pamphleteering to that effect. This does not mean, however, that its decision to refuse to deal, or to refrain from purchasing certain goods, is protected by the First Amendment.’
— US District Judge Brian Miller in his opinion
A US federal judge on Wednesday upheld legislation in the state of Arkansas forbidding state employees and contractors from participating in boycotts of Israel, such as the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
US District Judge Brian Miller dismissed a lawsuit brought forth by the Arkansas Times newspaper challenging the 2017 law — which requires state contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel — ruling that such a boycott is not protected by the First Amendment. The Arkansas Times is not engaged in a boycott against Israel, but filed the lawsuit after the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College refused to contract the paper because it declined to signed the anti-boycott pledge.
Miller wrote in his ruling that commercial boycotts, unlike actions such as writing in support of such boycotts, are not a protected form of speech and are therefore not protected by the First Amendment. . . .
More than a dozen US states have adopted similar legislation against such boycotts, which aim to challenge Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, but the measures have been repeatedly challenged.