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US Jewish Groups Cheer Upholding of Texas Anti-BDS Law

The Algemeiner

By Dion J. Pierre

July 11, 2023

American Jewish groups on Monday cheered a federal Appeal’s court ruling which upholds Texas’ anti-boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) law, prohibiting companies from boycotting Israel for the duration of state contracts — the second such ruling in under a year.

The constitutionality of the law was challenged by Rasmy Hassouna, a Palestinian-American from Gaza, who in 2021 sued Texas former attorney general Ken Paxton after the state offered him a $1.5 million contract with an anti-BDS provision. Hassouna alleged that such a stipulation violated the First and Fourteenth amendments and caused him financial injury.

A local district court initially agreed and, ruling against Texas, ordered an injunction barring enforcement of the anti-BDS law. On Monday, however, Court of Appeals Firth Circuit Judge Andrew S. Oldham ruled that Hassouna “lacks standing” and reversed the lower court’s ruling.

“This last month has been monumental for the fight against BDS and national-origin discrimination,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said in a press release. “Parties who sought to defend their states’ anti-BDS laws have prevailed victoriously in both the Fifth and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. And on July 6, New Hampshire became the newest state to adopt anti-BDS as state policy. Let the record reflect that anti-BDS laws are here to stay.”

Another group, the Israeli-American Coalition (IAC) for Action, heralded the ruling for protecting US companies operating in Israel and shielding taxpayer money from anti-Israel bias.

“We applaud the citizens and government of Texas for fighting to uphold the state’s refusal to contract or invest with parties engaging in commercial discrimination against Israel,” IAC for Action Chairman Shawn Evenhaim said in a statement. “We also commend the Texas Attorney General’s office, Solicitor General Judd Stone, and Solicitor Eric Hamilton for their hard work on this case.”

Monday’s ruling marked the second time this year that a federal court dismissed a challenge to Texas’ anti-BDS law, which was passed in 2017 and signed by Governor Greg Abbott (R).

In April, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit tossed a suit brought by Haseeb Abdullah, who argued that the law infringed on free speech and threatened his government pension. The court ruled that he too lacked standing, saying that his claim was based on potential economic losses in the future that are “at most — speculative” and that he “lacks any concrete stake.”

35 states currently have anti-BDS laws on their books. Tennessee passed one in April, and legislatures in Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, and Virginia are weighing similar measures. Earlier this month, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) issued an executive order banning agencies from awarding contracts with companies participating in the BDS movement.

In February, the US Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Arkansas’ anti-BDS law, which argued that requiring contractors to confirm that they are not boycotting Israel before doing business with University of Arkansas is unconstitutional.

Read the full article here.


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