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Federal judge blocks enforcement of anti-Israel boycott law

3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago Thursday, April 25 2019 Apr 25, 2019 April 25, 2019 5:28 PM April 25, 2019 in News - AP Texas Headlines

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A federal judge has blocked enforcement of a Texas law that requires contractors to certify that they don't boycott Israel.

In a 56-page opinion filed Thursday, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of Austin said boycotts are protected free speech, declaring the law fails to serve a compelling state interest.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas filed the federal suit in December against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and others. It argued the law forces people to choose between their First Amendment rights and their livelihoods.

Texas is among 25 states that has enacted similar bans on participation in the "boycott, divest and sanction Israel" movement against Israel's treatment of Palestinians. He said the statute "threatens 'to suppress unpopular ideas' and 'manipulate the public debate through coercion rather than persuasion."

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