Federal Court Strikes Down Kansas Law Against Israeli Boycotters

download660px-flag_of_israelsvg1A District Court judge in Kansas has handed down a major free speech victory this week in striking down the state law requiring all state contractors “to certify that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel.” We have previously discussed these laws and my view that they impinge upon the first amendment.  The laws include making victims of natural disasters attest that they do not support a boycott of Israel as well as similar bans on student groups.  Now the Kansas law has been struck down as a denial of free speech by District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree.  It is the Koontz case that we previously discussed.

Not only have pro-Israel advocates passed these laws on the state level, but they are pushing for federal legislation.  Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D., Md) moved legislation with 43 other senators to impose prison sentences and large fines for anyone working with international organizations to boycott Israel.

The court ruled that such laws punish people for their political views, association, and speech.  In this case, Kansas requires all contractors “to certify that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel.” One of those told to certify was Esther Koontz. The long-time math teacher at Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet School in Wichita, Kansas was barred from renewing her contract as  teacher because she supports the boycott of Israel over the occupation of Palestinian territories.  This is not simply reflective of her political views but a religious based obligation as a member of the Mennonite Church USA.  The church in July voted to divest itself from American companies that profit off of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The court noted that a state could seek to avoid the anti-competitive impacts of boycotts but noted that this law was tailored solely for the benefit of Israel and did not achieve that purpose as written:

But even if one assumed that Kansas had passed the law to achieve constitutionally
permissible goals that would not change the outcome here. It is still unconstitutional because it is not narrowly tailored to achieve those permissive goals. If Kansas
had passed its law to regulate boycotts intended to suppress economic competition coming from Israel—a goal that Claiborne permits—the Kansas Law is overinclusive. It is overinclusive because it also bans political boycotts, which is impermissible. See Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 64, 74–75 (1964) (“[S]peech concerning public affairs is more than self-expression; it is the essence of self-government.”). Likewise, if the Kansas Law’s goal is to promote trade relations with Israel—also a permissible goal—the Kansas Law is underinclusive because it only regulates boycotts but does not regulate other conduct that affects trade.

The decision is powerful defense of free speech and association.  The court concluded:

While the Kansas Law may have been passed by the legislature with
flying colors, that showing merely would demonstrate that one state legislature had enacted a statute. Such a showing would not place the Kansas Law on the same level as an amendment to our Constitution—the very first amendment adopted by our founders and one ratified by three fourths of our states. See U.S. Const. art. V. A desire to prevent discrimination against Israeli businesses is an insufficient public interest to overcome the public’s interest in protecting a constitutional right. The court finds that an injunction will serve the public interest.
Here is the opinion: Koontz decision

60 thoughts on “Federal Court Strikes Down Kansas Law Against Israeli Boycotters”

  1. Today’s TNYT has a review of “Rise and Kill First”. Appropriate to mention here; read the review.

  2. Israel is one of the only nation states East of Corfu which really opposes ISIS terrorists. ISIS hates the Jews and ISIS hates you.

    1. Maybe we should stop arming them. Get out of Syria and Iraq.

      The bought and paid for MIC whore in Congress refuse to pass a bill which would stop arming them.

      “The Stop Arming Terrorists Act is an Act of Congress that was originally sponsored by United States Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district Tulsi Gabbard and United States Senator for Kentucky Rand Paul in early 2017 to prohibit the use of United States Government funds to provide assistance to Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and to countries supporting those organizations, and for other purposes.[1] As November 2017, only 14[1] other lawmakers out of 435 United States House of Representatives have co-sponsored Gabbard’s House bill. Paul’s Senate version of the bill, on the other hand, has zero [2] cosponsors.[3”

  3. At UN Hearing, South African Delegate Decries Israel as World’s Last Functioning “Apartheid State”

    “During a United Nations hearing on its human rights record in Geneva on Tuesday, the Israeli government was accused of ongoing abuses and anti-democratic policies as it was called out as the world’s last functioning “apartheid state” by a delegate from South Africa—a nation with a unique vantage from which to judge.

    “Israel is the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state,” the South African delegate said to UN members during the Human Rights Council hearing at the Palais du Nations in Geneva. “We remain deeply concerned at the denial of the right of self-determination to the Palestinian people, in the absence of which no other human right can be exercised or enjoyed.”


    1. The beginning of knowledge Re. Judaism and Zionism is “The Talmud.” There are 2 Talmuds, but most Gentiles know of only that comprising some version of the Old Testament of the modern Bible.

      The 2nd Talmud is a book which has evolved since Nero (AKA “666”) destroyed the Mosaic Temple (the last true temple) in 70 AD. This 2nd “Talmud” comprises what Jesus called “human precepts” and “the traditions of the elders.” This Talmud comprises the polar opposite of Christianity. Any and every analogy persons draw between Judaism and Christianity is false. (I read, and have no reason to disbelieve, a Talmudist working in FDR’s State Department invented the term “Judeo-Christian.” Europe defaulted on billions of dollars in debt owed the USA during WW1. In response, Americans yawned at Europe’s early troubles with Hitler. The term “Judeo-Christian” instilled fear into American Christians, increasing their appetite for war. I don’t think you’ll find use of the term prior to WW2.)

      The end of the Mosaic Temple in 70AD defines the end of OT Mosaic Law. Without a temple, there is no such thing as a “Ioudaios” (wrongly translated “Jew”).

      The following is a common daily prayer of modern Orthodox Talmudic males: “Thank you _od you did not make me a slave, a Gentile, nor a woman.”

      The single greatest effect of The Talmud within Christianity is evangelical Zionism. Zionism denial is outlawed in the USA’s largest evangelical sect, the SBA/Southern Baptist Convention. At least one SBA Church prints atop every Sunday bulletin: “I will curse those who curse thee, and bless those who bless thee.” Evangelical interpretation: “If we kill Israeli enemies God gives us health and money, if we don’t, God will smite us.”

      I am convinced, that without Zionist Christian doctrine, US foreign military intervention would be impossible, because the electorate would forbid it. The effect of Zionist Christianity is such that so-called “evangelicals” can interpret almost any intervention as actually or potentially benefiting Israel, thus triggering the Bible vs. listed above, and the perverted, disgusting and ignorant Zionist interpretation, which is the exact opposite of every single thing Christ ever said on the subject.

      It’s not a coincidence how America’s survival and security is wrongly intertwined with a useless pile of dirt in the middle of the ME, Israel, a nation of actually zero national interest to the US.

      The West’s sole original interest in Israel had absolutely nothing to do with Judaism, and everything in the world to do with the West establishing a military presence in the middle of the oil patch, which fueled the industrial revolution.

      The primary interest in Israel now is to justify more military expenditure and insure an endless source of buyers for US military machines (see John McStain AKA McCain and Lindsey Graham….Re. the latter, I can hardly believe he finds time to take a breath and perform any bodily function between his cheering for WW3 starting with Iran and then soon including Russia, N. Korea, etc.

      1. Nero died on June 9th, 68 AD. So not responsible for the destruction of the 2nd temple.

        The rest of your screed is equally worthy.

        Of ignoring, which I did.

        1. Thanks for your clarification. Modern Talmudic sources quote 3 different years the 2nd temple was destroyed, 68, 69, and 70. 68 is consistent with your year of Nero’s death. Neither of us was there at the time.

          There are of course many other Biblical markers equating Nero to the destroyer of the temple. Prior to Nero destroying the 2nd temple, Nero suffered a horrible wound in battle. Many including 1st C believers believed Nero was dead, then they heard news that Nero lived. Scripture refers to (paraphrase) “he who was dead and is now raised” or something similar, as if Nero was actually raised from the dead (they were simply wrong, probably wishful thinking). Acts 25:11-2 refers to Nero Caesar.

          If your opinion is that the SBC (I wrongly typed SBA above) would accept any alleged “Christian” who denied Zionism, you are almost positively a Zionist, a liar (synonyms), quite stupid, or all the above (likely the latter). In the SBC, Zionism and Christianity are permanently entwined, inseparable. Upon request I’ll post a photograph of the aforementioned bulletin commanding one’s mental, spiritual, and physical obeisance to Jews and Israel, equating the same with Christ Himself.

          In the SBC and among most evangelicals, Zionism and Christianity are synonyms. Of all the protestant cults, likely only Mormonism is more entwined with Zionism: Joseph Smith was a Freemason, which is an offshoot from Talmudism. The Mormon Church has a symbiotic relationship with Israel. I believe there is even a Mormon office in the heart of Israel.

          It’s interesting how pathetic are Zionist retorts like yours, to facts like those I listed. Maybe next time just type “FU and save yourself the trouble.

          1. Vespasian left his son in charge of supressing the Jews when he left for Rome to become emperor. His son supervised the destruction and sacking of Jerusalem, taking until 70 AD.

            The history is known from several sources. I suggest learning it before commenting.

  4. Glenn Greenwald, yesterday:

    In a Major Free Speech Victory, a Federal Court Strikes Down a Law that Punishes Supporters of Israel Boycott


    An excerpt:

    “Last year, a measure sponsored by Benjamin Cardin, a Democratic senator from Maryland and an AIPAC loyalist, joined by 43 other senators, went even further, purporting to impose prison sentences and large fines for anyone working with international organizations to boycott Israel. Only after the ACLU vehemently denounced the bill as a grave First Amendment attack that “would punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs” did several senators say they were re-considering their support.

    “Indeed, it’s hard to overstate how pervasive and mainstream these attempts to legally suppress criticisms of Israel have become, including in the U.S. As the legal advocacy organization Palestine Legal told The Intercept yesterday, “Since 2014, over 100 anti-boycott measures (similar to the one blocked in Kansas) have been introduced in the U.S., at least 24 of them enacted. Palestine Legal responded to 308 suppression incidents in 2017 and nearly 1,000 in the last four years.” The report issued by the group this week details just some of those efforts:

    “Hurricane Harvey victims were required to pledge not to boycott Israel to receive relief aid;
    An NYC bookstore hid a children’s book about Palestine after calls for censorship;

    “A Palestinian American professor at San Francisco State was sued for researching and teaching about Palestine;

    “A Black student leader at the University of Wisconsin was condemned for speaking out against the connections between white supremacy and Zionism by Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

    “So widespread are attempts to punish and repress speech and activism aimed at ending the Israeli occupation that the Center for Constitutional Rights has dubbed this movement “the Palestine Exception” to free speech rights in the U.S.

    “The federal court ruling from yesterday is a ringing endorsement of the vital constitutional principle that people cannot be punished by the U.S. government or state governments due to disapproval of their political activism and viewpoints — even if the goal is to protect the Israeli government and its decadeslong illegal occupation from criticism and activism. The direct result of this ruling is that the Kansas state government is barred from continuing to force teachers and other state residents to take an oath to refrain from boycotting Israel upon pain of being denied contracts, but the broader and more enduring effect may be to emphasize just how authoritarian, repressive, and contrary to core civil liberties the global attempt to abuse the power of law to criminalize or suppress this free expression in the name of protecting Israeli occupation is.” -Glenn Greenwald

  5. I agree that this is a matter of free speech.

    This cuts both ways. There have also been attempts to selectively contract with organizations who do engage in BDS.

    I personally support Israel. If efforts for BDS were successful in destabilizing Israel, the Middle East would promptly engage in yet another Jewish genocide. I cannot understand why so many on the Left support a move that could result in the deaths of millions of Jewish people, but people are indeed allowed to hold any view they wish.

  6. Zionism is the problem

    “Meanwhile, the characterization of anti-Zionism as an “epidemic” more dangerous than anti-Semitism reveals only the unsustainability of the position into which Israel’s apologists have been forced.

    Faced with international condemnation, they seek to limit the discourse, to erect walls that delineate what can and can’t be said.

    It’s not working. Opposing Zionism is neither anti-Semitic nor particularly radical. It requires only that we take our own values seriously and no longer, as the book of Amos has it, “turn justice into wormwood and hurl righteousness to the ground.”

    Establishing a secular, pluralist, democratic government in Israel and Palestine would of course mean the abandonment of the Zionist dream. It might also mean the only salvation for the Jewish ideals of justice that date back to Jeremiah.”


      1. I would like to add that Muslims did get their own Palestinian Sate – it’s called Jordan. The region formerly known as Palestine was divided into two. Muslims got the far larger portion, and Jews got the tiny part leftover that encompassed their homeland going back for thousands upon thousands of years.

        But the Muslim Arabs were not content to have the greater share. They wanted all of it. They objections violently to any state in the Middle East that was not Islamic. They most certainly did not want the preservation of the Jewish homeland, or for them to have their own Mecca. They were not sympathetic that most nations were anti-Semitic, and would not take in Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism before WWII. They were not sympathetic to the British Mandate before that, which recognized that Jews were persecuted globally.

        Progressives still persecute Jewish people, thinking that BDS is somehow fair and just when it is just another attack on Jewish people.

        After the formation of Israel, Jordan promptly invaded. You should take a look at the photos of scared Jewish people being rounded up at gunpoint from their own homeland, and evicted by anti-Semites…just after the Holocaust. Many Middle Eastern nations teach their children to chant, “Death to Israel!” And Israel is not present at all on any map shown to Palestinian children in the infamous UN schools which promote terrorism.

        Islam put the Middle East to the sword and killed or converted everyone. They will never accept a Jewish or secular nation there. It is Muslim or death.

        If BDS plays its cards right, it might succeed in converting the only Western civilization in the Middle East where women have equal rights, to yet another extremist country where they are subjugated and trapped.

          1. Women have equal rights under the law in Israel just the same as they do in the US.

            In the US, someone may belong to a religious organization, such as the Amish, in which women are held to a specific standard. That is the law of the individual religion to which the women voluntarily adhere. It is not the law of the country. You may not be aware that Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are pushing for more voice in their community. It is the Ultra Orthodox where women are discouraged from speaking out in public. What is interesting is how Israel courts have ruled in the past that Ultra Orthodox women were discriminated against, while the women themselves support such discrimination. The law protects them when they will not.

            There are many private situations here in the US were there is an unequal balance of power between the sexes, although they enjoy equal legal rights.

            Now, let’s compare and contrast to women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, shall we?

    1. When confronted with any legitimate criticism of Israel and/or its inhabitants, Zionists and Israel-firsters reply with the debate stopping, thought stopping, tired and now almost meaningless slur “anti-Semite.”

      My reply: “What you can not criticize is your God.”

  7. The decision proves the federal stop gap is the only tool available to prevent colonies, like the Koch’s Kansas, from passing laws that are unconstitutional.
    It’s good to know that Adelson’s control, has limits. Trump would approve of the Kansas law if there were $ for him. If the case goes to the SCOTUS, the well-established partisanship may, unfortunately, provoke a different decision.

    If only there was a federal law that prevented colonies like Ohio from passing legislation to benefit the tech industry, i.e. mandated testing by computer. Ohio is a gerrymandered colony of GOP donors. Unfortunately, the dim-witted in the district of the Koch’s Jim Jordan aren’t as smart as people in the state of Washington. The people of Washington were forced to fight off Bill Gates’ attempt to oust judges who made decisions favorable to public schools. The people won.

  8. “A desire to prevent discrimination against Israeli businesses is an insufficient public interest to overcome the public’s interest in protecting a constitutional right.”

    Good for the judge and kudos to the ACLU for defending the school teacher. That she is a Mennonite shouldn’t matter – as US citizens we have the right to boycott as we see fit. screw AIPAC and its minions

  9. This should motivate our law makers to once and for all to do away with this dual citizenship nonsense. Senator Cardin,who has this dual citizenship with Israel , is a good example.
    You’re either American motivated or Israeli m- and the same is true for the Irish and others.

      1. “Minion”-millions of trademarked products from the movie.
        Steve Miller physically resembles a Minion.

  10. Thank-you to all who discuss this issue in the media on either side of the issue, as it informs increasing numbers of people of the depravity engaged in by Israel in its ethnic cleansing efforts against Palestinians.

    1. as it informs increasing numbers of people of the depravity engaged in by Israel in its ethnic cleansing efforts against Palestinians.

      Nope. It informed an increasing number of people about the dangers of politicians with the power to pass legislation that infringes rights.

  11. I am going to boycott all members of the Menonite Church. I have a tenant in one of my condo units who belongs. I am sending her an eviction notice. Take your speech and eat it too, hustlin round Atlanta in your Alligator shoes.

    1. You analogy doesn’t fit. A more accurate characterization would be that you are not going to purchase any Menonite products (assuming momentarily that such exists), or contribute any money to the Menonite Church. A “boycott” means nothing more. Additionally, evicting a tenant because of their religion violates federal fair housing laws.

      1. I am going to evict her because she says she hates Jews and goes to church and wont knell on the pew.

  12. Sooo, how do you reconcile this decision, with the decisions which prevent Christian Bakers from refusing to bake cake for gays pretending to be getting married???

    Let’s see, both types of law have a “commercial” nexus. It only applies to people who are providing goods or services for money. One prevents people from discriminating against queers of various ilks. The other prevents people from discriminating against Israel thru a boycott.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Did you read the opinion? Or are you speaking from the same place that Ottawa’s Leston Lawrence likes to store his gold? The opinion produces ZERO support that the law violates free speech. The opinion is strictly a Leftist political screed. Coming out of the closet are you?

      1. Ralph Adamo – the law on its face violates the Constitution regarding free speech and freedom of religion. I do not agree with the people on that side however they have a right to their opinion.

  13. All the Leftist vermin like Turley, Crabtree, Koontz, Benson, and the other lowlifes voted for Obama. Crabtree was made a judge by Obama. They are ALL for the same Leftist anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic agenda. They are enemies of Civilization and Decency.

    Only recently has a photo been released showing how cozy Obama was with his fellow anti-Semitic buddy Farrakhan. You can also see their REAL thoughts expressed by Farrakhan in the video at the bottom of this page.


    1. Should anti-Semitism be criminalized? What should be the penalty?

      How DID the USA thrive for two C’s prior to the USA and League of Nations inventing Israel by threat of force?

  14. Now what does Kansas have in the way of contractors that Israel needs?


    1. S o let’s switch to states rights. I thought the Civil War settled that. along with a few other items

      Can’t have slaves
      Can’t secede
      Federal government is supreme
      and one other … might be universal conscription for military service.

      But it may be the press is free but may not be used to foment insurrection I’ll have to check that one.

      1. i have it… 9th and 10th Amendment are null and void. is number four. Kinda like the Logan law and after the terrorist acts the notion of probable cause is the current loss along with money is free speech which effectively created a new right but took away four or five others.

      2. Michael Aarethun – two states can secede, Texas and Vermont. It is part of their Constitution. And the issue was only settled by force of arms, there is nothing in the Constitution preventing a state from seceding.

        1. If only the framers of California’s constitution had had the same bright forethought.

  15. The judge is flat out wrong.

    This isn’t a law from the federal congress, where it would be prohibited by the first amendment. State laws apply except for the few situations where the federal law prempts, notably interstate commerce.

    But I never studied the law, just school civics classes.

    1. The First Amendment is applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. (Con Law 101).

        1. NP. On you previous topic: if “Poo-Bah” wasn’t a reference to Fred and Barney’s Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes, what did it refer to?

              1. Marky Mark Mark – not knowing where Poo Bah comes from is just the sign of a poor undergraduate education.

  16. Naturally, closet–or not so closet–anti-Semite Turley is having a wet dream over Crabtree’s bogus opinion. He makes no mention of the fact that Crabtree is a far Leftist Obama appointee. And, as I’ver pointed out repeatedly on this site, Leftists are by their very nature anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic. They are pro-Islamic terrorist loving islamocommunazis.

    The law has nothing to do with free speech, and, in fact, Leftists like Turley and Crabtree HATE free speech. The only kind of free speech they like is speech that attacks Americans, Israelis, Jews.

    The War of the Leftists against Civilization and Decency continues in a new chapter. I pray that the law prevails over Turley, Crabtree, Koontz, and all the other Leftist vermin.

    1. Then why are you wasting time and bytes here? If your tinfoil hat antenna tells you that everyone who’s not an old white guy is against hot dogs, apple pie and mom, then by all means go do something about it in real life. Hurry!

      This is to “Oh, nevermind; I have to rearrange my sock drawer” ralphie

    2. All hail the US Constitution, which criminalizes Israel hatred! We all forgot the Amendment, so maybe one of the Israel-firsters can tell us where to find the law, and quote it for us. I feel so much better since Israel was named the 51st State and Capitol of the USA!!!

      All hail Israel’s supreme Khazarian race!

      /sarc off

      Israel, a nation of zero national interest to the US.

      Anti-Semite: “Not someone who hates Jews, but rather someone hated by certain Jews.” James Sobran

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