BDS VICTORY: Federal Judge Overrules Georgia’s Anti-Boycott Law

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, also known as BDS. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A federal judge struck down a 2016 Georgia state law banning state contracts with businesses or organizations supporting the BDS movement.

District Court Judge Mark Cohen ruled that that the ban is unconstitutional. “The requirement … that parties seeking to contract with the state of Georgia sign a certification that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel also is unconstitutional compelled speech,” Cohen stated in his ruling.

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit brought by Abby Martin, a journalist who is outspoken about her anti-Israel and pro-BDS views, after Georgia Southern University withdrew an invitation for her to serve as a keynote speaker at a university conference because she wouldn’t sign the anti-BDS contract.

Martin’s case was backed by CAIR, J Street, the rabbinical human rights group T’ruah and the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law School.

“My First Amendment rights were restricted on behalf of a foreign government, which flies in the face of the principles of freedom and democracy,” Martin said.

A total of 35 states have passed anti-BDS legislation since 2015, according to a Jewish Virtual Library list.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Did any of you read the Judge’s opinion?? The law was poorly drafted and based on first amendment/political speech precedent, he followed the precedent in the Eleventh Circuit. Also, at the end of March, a panel of three judges on the Eighth Circuit (none of them self-hating Jews) struck down a nearly identical Arkansas anti-BDS law governing state contracting. There are certain types of economic boycotts which are per se illegal to engage in. These tangential laws focused on “speech” related to economic boycotts are unlikely to sustain judicial review.

  2. This “decision” is dishonest and a perversion of the law. The federal government and EVERY state government already requires contractors to certify that they don’t discriminate against black people, women, disabled people, etc. If that is constitutional (and no court has ever suggested it might not be) then how can it be unconstitutional to require the same certification that the contractor doesn’t discriminate against Israeli businesses?