Statement- APN Welcomes Supreme Court Petition on the Right to Boycott

Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes the petition filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with the US Supreme Court to overturn an Arkansas law requiring state contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel as a condition to doing business with the state.

APN thanks the ACLU and urges the Supreme Court to take up the case.

APN supports the right of American citizens, organizations and companies to use boycotts as a legitimate First Amendment-protected right.

The case in point pertains to the Arkansas Times newspaper and its editor, Alan Leveritt, who refused to sign a commitment to not boycott Israel as a condition for an advertising contract with the state-run University of Arkansas. Leveritt initially lost in a federal district court, but when he appealed to the 8th Circuit court of appeals, a three-judge panel overturned the federal district court's ruling, ruling in his favor. The state of Arkansas petitioned to have the case reviewed again by the full 8th district court (as opposed to the 3-judge panel), and the court agreed to. The full court's ruling upheld the initial ruling of the federal district court, ruling against Leveritt to uphold the 2017 Arkansas law, which the state of Arkansas dubbed “boycotting the boycotters.”

Similar legislation and executive orders were adopted in 34 states.

APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “A Supreme Court decision on this case, if it decides to take it up, could have broad repercussions in the United States and beyond. We hope the Court discusses the matter and rules that states have no business imposing conditions on the free speech rights of individuals, organizations and companies. You may support or oppose boycotting Israel or the Occupation, but as a government you must not impose your opinion on others or sanction them for their views.”