US anti-boycott laws and their implications for free speech – Part 1 | Boycott

In the past nine years, 36 states in the United States have passed laws that require individuals and companies to agree not to boycott Israel as part of their work contracts. These laws prohibit public entities from contracting with and investing in companies that boycott Israel.

Supporters of the legislation include members of the evangelical right and politicians from both political parties. The laws are also being rolled out as “model laws”, templates that can be modified to suit a range of political agendas.

This three-part series follows three Americans as they challenge the laws: Arkansas news publisher Alan Leveritt; Arizona lawyer Mikkel Jordahl; and Bahia Amawi, a speech therapist in Texas. They all refuse to sign their contracts with the new clauses, whether they intend to boycott Israel or not, on the basis of their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.

Part one, The Bill, meets them as they initiate their legal challenges and explores the story behind the legislation, hearing from those who support and oppose these laws.

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