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Court Ruling Supports US State Bans On Anti-Israel BDS Movement

by | Wed, Jul 19 2023

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The Israeli-American Coalition (IAC) for Action is celebrating a significant legal victory after a US Appeal Court dismissed a challenge to a Texas law that allows the state to refuse government contracts with, and investments in, companies supporting the anti-Israel BDS movement.

BDS stands for boycotts, divestments and economic sanctions against Israel with a view to mounting international pressure on the Jewish State over its Palestinian policies.

The Jerusalem Post writes that the decision, based on jurisdictional grounds, reinforces Texas’s stance against national origin-based discrimination and upholds the state’s right to refuse to contract or invest with entities engaged in such practices.

The dismissed challenge was brought by A&R Engineering, which sought to overturn the law. It argued that it had a First Amendment right to receive state contracts while refusing to comply with a state non-discrimination certification requirement that aims to minimise the number of  local businesses engaging in economic discrimination against Israel. The non-discrimination clause aligns with various state contract clauses that promote equal treatment based on characteristics such as gender, race, religion, national origin, and veteran status.

The Appeal Court rejected A&R’s argument. Its ruling removes an injunction imposed by a lower court and affirms the constitutionality of anti-BDS laws in 37 American states that are aimed at curbing discriminatory practices against Israel and safeguarding US companies conducting business with the Jewish State.

IAC For Action executive director Joseph Sabag who helped draft the Texas law observed that every state that has adopted an anti-BDS law currently has it in full effect, and challenges to these laws have consistently failed in court. He stated: “The forces of BDS are running out of plaintiffs, and their legal arguments have proven lacking through every case they’ve lost.”

Mr. Sabag stressed that anti-BDS laws are specifically crafted to combat discrimination and protect various categories of individuals, including women, racial minorities, and LGBTQ individuals.

The Jerusalem Post reports that with the latest ruling, the number of states with anti-BDS laws within the jurisdiction of federal courts now stands at 12 out of 13, solidifying the legal framework to combat national origin-based discrimination and support strong ties between the United States and Israel.

Pro-Israel group StandWithUs noted: “This last month has been monumental for the fight against BDS and national-origin discrimination. Parties who sought to defend their states’ anti-BDS laws have prevailed victoriously in Courts of Appeals Let the record reflect that anti-BDS laws are here to stay.”

It noted that earlier this month New Hampshire became the latest state to adopt anti-BDS laws as state policy.