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September 10, 2019 11:48 am

American Jewish Committee Files Amicus Brief Backing Texas Anti-BDS Law

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A pro-BDS demonstration. Photo: FOA / Facebook.

The American Jewish Committee is pushing for the US Court of Appeals to uphold a Texas anti-BDS law.

Texas Government Code Chapter 2270 prevents the state government from doing business with companies or contractors that support or practice a boycott of Israel.

The law has been challenged in the case of Bahia Amawi v. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in which it was found to be unconstitutional by a district court. The case is on appeal.

The AJC’s amicus brief states that the law does not infringe constitutional rights to free speech, saying, “It does not compel State contractors to endorse or engage in speech opposing the BDS movement or BDS activities, does not prevent individuals affiliated with State contractors from participating in boycotts in their personal capacities, and does not prevent contractors from expressing their personal views regarding boycotts or associating with others who share their views.”

“Plaintiffs have identified no contractor and no set of circumstances in which application of the verification requirement would be unconstitutional,” the brief adds.

“The US Supreme Court has long recognized that the government is not obliged to expend public funds in a manner contrary to its own express interests in deference to a contractor’s preferred use of public resources to a different end,” it says, “regardless of whether that preference is couched as an exercise of personal or political expression.”

AJC General Counsel Marc Stern said of the case, “The State has a legitimate interest in safeguarding its commerce with Israel and its access to Israeli-connected goods or services, and its enforcement of that interest does not contravene the First Amendment.”

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