Boycott Bans Are an Assault on Free Speech

Source: The Atlantic
by Adam Serwer

“Despite their historical pedigree, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2021 that boycotts are ‘purely commercial, non-expressive conduct.’ A majority of the conservative-dominated panel — the only Democratic-appointed judge on the entire circuit dissented — concluded that an Arkansas law compelling state contractors to sign a form promising that they would not participate in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement targeting Israel over its decades-long occupation of Palestinian territory did not violate the First Amendment. … this is consistent with the emerging right-wing stance that freedom of speech is a right possessed only by speakers communicating conservative messages. Within this understanding of free speech, the state can ban private actors from speaking in ways the Republican Party does not like, because liberal or left-wing disapproval of conservative positions is a form of totalitarianism that must be suppressed by the state.” (03/09/23)