Georgia (In Palestine Today)- A federal judge has ruled that Georgia’s anti-BDS law is unconstitutional. The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit that was filed against the state by journalist Abby Martin.
Judge Mark Cohen in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia recognized a Georgia state law requiring certification is not “narrowly tailored,” “burdens Martin’s speech,” and she has a valid claim that her rights were violated.
Martin, a longtime advocate for Palestinian rights and host of “Empire Files”, was invited to give a talk at Georgia Southern University as part of a media conference in 2020. Shortly before the event, the school sent her a contract to sign and, because of the state’s anti-BDS law, it contained a loyalty oath to ‘Israel’. By signing the contract Martin would have promised not to boycott the country. The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed a lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of Martin.
“I am thrilled at the judge’s decision to strike down this law that so clearly violates the free speech rights of myself and so many others in Georgia,” Martin, the host of “Empire Files,” declared. “My First Amendment rights were restricted on behalf of a foreign government, which flies in the face of the principles of freedom and democracy.”
“The government of Israel has pushed state legislatures to enact these laws only because they know that sympathy and support for the population they brutalize, occupy, ethnically cleanse, and subject to apartheid is finally growing in popular consciousness.”
Martin added, “They want to hold back the tide of justice by preemptively restricting the right of American citizens to peacefully take a stand against their crimes.”
Yet in states like Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Texas, and now Georgia, federal courts have deemed these laws inappropriately prohibit certain speech.