Arkansas Times Defends First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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For some one who believes in First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as strongly as I do, it is quite chilling to find out about what has been happening. If left unchecked, it may potentially lead our country down the darkest path, into days of dictatorship and tyranny.
In the twenty-six states (CA, NV, AZ, CO, TX, KS, MN, IA, AR, LA, WI, IL, IN, KY, MI, OH, NC, AL, PA, SC, GA, NY, NJ, MD, FL, RI) of USA , anti-BDS law (S. 1 and H.R. 336) has passed, requiring any one who does business with the government to sign a loyalty pledge to Israel. One of these twenty-six states with the anti-BDS law is Arkansas. Even though Arkansas Times does not participate in BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction), it and ACLU are suing the state of Arkansas over the law for violation of Freedom of Speech and Press.
The Arkansas Times is suing the state over a state law that requires state contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel. VICE News visits the newspaper and speaks to one of the law’s sponsors to hear why he thinks the law is necessary and to find out what rabbi of Little Rock, Arkansas, thinks of BDS and anti-BDS law, in the video “Arkansas Newspaper Challenges The State’s Anti-BDS Law (HBO)“, below:
*BDS stands for Boycott Divestment and Sanction. It’s a consumer boycott of Israeli made products, designed to punish Israel its treatment of Palestinians.
For BDS movement, please click HERE.
For Anti-BDS law, please click HERE.
Dianne Feinstein wrote in a press release, “This Israel anti-boycott legislation would give states a free pass to restrict First Amendment protections for millions of Americans. Despite my strong support for Israel, I oppose this legislation because it clearly violates the Constitution.”
Some of the most precious freedoms in U.S. Constitution are in the First Amendment. Even though Arkansas Times does not participate in BDS, it is willing to sacrifice its revenue associated with state of Arkansas and to challenge this state law (requiring any one who does business with state of Arkansas to sign the loyalty pledge to Israel) in court. Are you paying attention to what kind of laws are being passed in your state? Throughout history, there had been sign posts leading down the path of dictatorship or tyranny, chipping away rights and freedoms one piece at a time. The Supreme Court has long held that political boycotts (such as boycotts for Palestinian rights) are a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. The government may not condition the receipt of government benefits on the requirement that a person forgo core political speech activity. Nor can the government enact measures that chill our speech rights. Several courts have already considered anti-boycott laws . In September, 2018, a federal court blocked Arizona from enforcing its anti-boycott law, finding that the law likely violates the First Amendment. A federal court also issued a preliminary injunction against Kansas’ enforcement of its anti-boycott law. The ACLU’s case challenging the Arkansas anti-boycott law has been dismissed (with the state having to pay plaintiff’s legal fees), but plaintiffs are appealing that decision. Some state legislatures have amended their anti-boycott laws to avoid these lawsuits, but the underlying constitutional concerns remain, and these laws will continue to be challenged.
During the time of global rise of authoritarianism, Americans need to be cognizant of laws being passed, on the federal level as well as local level.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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Keep in mind that rabbi and leader of Little Rock, Arkansas Jewish community opposes BDS, but is also against the anti-BDS legislation. The rabbi