Americans for Peace Now (APN), together with three other American progressive pro-Israel pro-peace organizations, submitted an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a constitutional challenge to a law penalizing boycotts of Israel.
Submitted jointly by APN, J Street, T’ruah, and Partners for Progressive Israel and prepared by the Georgetown Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, the brief demonstrates how throughout history, Americans -- and particularly American Jews -- have engaged in boycotts as an expression of their ideological commitments. The brief argues that eliminating constitutional protection for boycott participation threatens Americans’ First Amendment rights.
None of the groups that submitted the brief support boycotting Israel, but they do support Americans’ constitutional right to boycott. APN does support boycotting products made in Israeli West Bank settlements, outside the lines of sovereign Israel.
The case before the Supreme Court involves a 2017 Arkansas law requiring state contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel. Alan Leveritt, the publisher of The Arkansas Times, refused to sign such a pledge as a condition for The Arkansas Times to receive state advertising dollars, and instead sued Arkansas on First Amendment grounds. An Arkansas federal district judge upheld the law. Leveritt appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court, which ultimately ruled with the District Court. Leveritt then took his case to the Supreme Court, which will soon decide whether or not to discuss it.
In the past seven years, 34 states passed laws or implemented executive orders penalizing boycotts of Israel. A Supreme Court ruling on the Arkansas case could impact the constitutionality of laws and executive orders in other states.
APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “We hope the Supreme Court will decide to hear this case and rule in support of the right of each and every American to use our First Amendment right to boycott as a legitimate form of protest.”
To read the brief, click here.