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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘University of Arkansas’

Opinion | I Live in Arkansas. Why is My State Telling Me Not to Boycott Israel? – The New York Times

Posted by M. C. on November 24, 2021

Because AIPAC owns Congress and Congress owns education grants.

https://archive.vn/2021.11.23-135229/https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/22/opinion/israel-arkansas-bds-pledge.html?referringSource=articleShare

By Alan LeverittMr. Leveritt is the founder and publisher of The Arkansas Times. His lawsuit against Arkansas’s anti-boycott law is being reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.At The Arkansas Times, a publication I founded 47 years ago, our pages focus on small-scale local issues, like protecting Medicaid expansion from the predations of our state legislature and other elements of Arkansas politics, history and culture. So I was surprised when in 2018 I received an ultimatum from the University of Arkansas’s Pulaski Technical College, a longtime advertiser: To continue receiving its ad dollars, we would have to certify in writing that our company was not engaged in a boycott of Israel. It was puzzling. Our paper focuses on the virtues of Sims Bar-B-Que down on Broadway — why would we be required to sign a pledge regarding a country in the Middle East?I understood the context of that email. In 2017, Arkansas pledged to enforce support for Israel by mandating that public agencies not do business with contractors unless those contractors affirm that they do not boycott Israel. The idea behind the bill goes back 16 years. In 2005, Palestinian civil society launched a campaign calling for “boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.” Around the world, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or B.D.S., as it became known, gained momentum. In response, Israel and lobbyists have used multiple strategies to quash the movement. In the United States, one such strategy took the form of anti-B.D.S. bills. Currently, more than 30 states have provisions on the books similar to Arkansas’s.It soon became clear that The Arkansas Times had to answer our advertiser. Though boycotting Israel could not have been further from our minds and though state funding is a significant source of our income, our answer was no. We don’t take political positions in return for advertising. If we signed the pledge, I believe, we’d be signing away our right to freedom of conscience. And as journalists, we would be unworthy of the protections granted us under the First Amendment.And so, instead of signing, we sued to overturn the law, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, on the grounds that it violates the First and 14th Amendments. We are still fighting it.