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Friday, June 10, 2016

The Huffington Post has an article by an ACLU official:

Gov. Cuomo’s BDS Blacklist Is An Affront To Free Expression
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order this week requiring state agencies and authorities to divest from any company or institution that supports the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. The order not only threatens to punish constitutionally protected political speech but also requires the state of New York to create a blacklist of allies of the movement, which BDS supporters describe as an effort to ensure human rights for Palestinians.

“It’s very simple: If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you,” Cuomo said when he announced the order.

The directive requires all agencies and departments over which the governor has executive authority as well as certain public benefit corporations, public authorities, boards, and commissions to divest funds from any company or institution supporting BDS. The entities are also banned from investing in those companies in the future.

The order itself makes clear that the activity the governor wants to punish is political in nature. But, as the Supreme Court made clear, government can’t penalize people or entities on the basis of their free expression, and political boycotts are a form of free expression.
What is the Supreme Court ruling that the ACLU is citing?

In 1966, the NAACP called for a boycott of some white-owned businesses in Claiborne County, Mississippi. The businesses sued the NAACP in 1969 for their lost revenue over the boycott. The Mississippi High Court rejected two of the three arguments for the lawsuit but upheld a third, that black citizens were intimidated into boycotting the stores with threats of violence. Some NAACP members actually engaged in violence and others stood outside the stores to record the names of any black customers.

The Supreme Court said that non-violent free speech cannot be penalized on First Amendment grounds, and that the NAACP cannot be held responsible for the violent or threatening acts by some of its members, so the lawsuit against the boycotters was dismissed.

In short, the Supreme Court ruled that the state cannot penalize people for engaging in nonviolent free speech.

But choosing not to give government contracts with, or invest in, a business that boycotts Israel is not in any way, shape or form a violation of people's right to free speech.  There is a huge difference between forcing people to pay a financial penalty for their non-violent speech and saying that you won't financially support their speech. States have the right to decide how to spend and invest their money, and that does not violate the right to free speech. Not until they prosecute someone for what they write on a blog or say on a street corner.

Freedom of speech does not mean the right to be paid for your opinions. It is not the right to have your opinions be respected as much as all other opinions. It is not the right not to feel uncomfortable when others disagree with your ideas.

The BDSers are not being stopped in any way, shape or form from expressing their opinions. Being exposed as idiots and liars is not a violation of their right to be idiots and liars.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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