ACLU sues over Kansas law that targets Israel boycotts

Elias Hubbard
October 12, 2017

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal court to strike down a new Kansas law banning state contracts with anyone who boycotts Israel.

"The first amendment protects the right to participate in political boycotts, and the government of Kansas has no business imposing political litmus tests on it's state contractors." says Brian Hauss. Recorded. In ACLU statement, law in Kansas is 1st Amendment of Constitution.

The lawsuit could have sweeing consequences nationally.

Supporters of the Anti-Israel Boycott Bill argue it's important to continue a strong trade relationship with Israel, and the law reinforces that relationship. As a result, Senate sponsors of the bill are considering changes.

"From the Boston Tea Party to the Montgomery bus boycott to the campaign to divest from businesses operating in apartheid South Africa, political boycotts have been a proud part of this country's constitutional tradition", Hauss concluded.

Several other states have similar anti-Israel boycott laws on the books. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act seeks to imprison USA persons for 20 years and fine them $1 million for advancing the goals of or even furnishing information related to a boycott of Israel or Israeli settlement products called for by an global organization.

The suit, filed on behalf of public school curriculum coach Esther Koontz, claims that a Kansas law enacted earlier this year unlawfully requires state contractors to attest that they are not boycotting Israel. Koontz is participating in her church's boycott of Israeli companies to protest Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Koontz had been denied a contract to work in Kansas' teacher training program after refusing to certify that she was not boycotting Israeli goods and.

According to the ACLU, "The state of Kansas is penalizing our client, and others like her, because it disapproves of her political beliefs, associations, and expression", a blatant violation of the First Amendment.

"I'm disappointed that I can't be a math trainer for the state of Kansas because of my political views about human rights across the globe".

"Kansas should not be dictating political orthodoxy for its contractors", Hauss said.

"The state should not be telling people what causes they can or can't support", Koontz said in a press release. "You don't need to share my beliefs or agree with my decisions to understand that this law violates my free speech rights".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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