They Say/We Say: "There’s nothing unconstitutional about banning BDS."

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

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They Say, We Say: BDS & Criticism of Israel

They Say: There’s nothing unconstitutional about banning BDS.
We Say:  Legislation (seen thus far) seeking to shame, punish and bar BDS through various avenues runs afoul of constitutionally-protected rights and constitutional doctrine and practice in one or more of the following ways:

 “For at least a quarter-century, this Court has made clear that, even though a person has no ‘right’ to a valuable governmental benefit, and even though the government may deny him the benefit for any number of reasons, there are some reasons upon which the government may not rely. It may not deny a benefit to a person on a basis that infringes his constitutionally protected interest, especially his interest in freedom of speech. For if the government could deny a benefit to a person because of his constitutionally protected speech or associations, his exercise of those freedoms would in effect be penalized and inhibited. This would allow the government to ‘produce a result which [it] could not command directly.’ Speiser v. Randall, 357 U. S. 513, 357 U. S. 526. Such interference with constitutional rights is impermissible.” [emphasis added]

  • Vagueness: The “void for vagueness” or “overbroad” doctrine holds that a law is unenforceable if its terms are so vague or overbroad that the average citizen could not be certain what conduct is or is not permitted. The EO clearly falls into this category, with language that is prima facie vague and overbroad (e.g., “any activity,” “promote others,” “coercing political action,” “affected state entities”).
  • Chilling Effect: Chilling effect is defined as follows: “In constitutional law, the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of a constitutional right, especially one protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, by the potential or threatened prosecution under, or application of, a law or sanction.” As articulated by Justice Brennan in his dissent on Walker v. City of Birmingham 388 U.S. 307 (1967):

“We have molded both substantive rights and procedural remedies in the face of varied conflicting interests to conform to our overriding duty to insulate all individuals from the ‘chilling effect’ upon exercise of First Amendment freedoms generated by vagueness, overbreadth and unbridled discretion to limit their exercise.”