ATLANTA (AP) — A documentary filmmaker who refused to sign Georgia’s required oath involving Israel is suing the state, saying the law is in violation of free speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
A Georgia law passed in 2016 requires some people to sign an oath pledging not to boycott Israel in order to do business with the state of Georgia.
In her federal lawsuit, Abby Martin says she refused to sign the oath, and her scheduled appearance this month at a Georgia Southern University media conference was then cancelled.
“I will not forfeit my constitutional rights by signing this pledge,” Martin said at a Monday news conference to announce the lawsuit.
Martin was to be paid a $1,000 honorarium plus expenses to be the keynote speaker for the 2020 International Critical Media Literacy Conference. So university officials asked her to sign a “Memorandum of Agreement” which stated: “You certify that you are not currently engaged in, and agree for the duration of this agreement not to engage in, a boycott of Israel.”
After Martin refused to sign, the university prevented her from speaking and the conference was cancelled
The law is similar to others passed in recent years in more than 20 states, including Texas, Arizona, Arkansas and Maryland, Mitchell said. His organization has been involved in fighting such laws nationwide, including Georgia’s.
This story was published on Feb. 10, 2020. It was updated on Feb. 12, 2020 to show that a Georgia law requires some people to sign an oath pledging not to boycott Israel, not the Israeli government. The story also was corrected to show that they have to sign the oath to do business with the state of Georgia, not to do business in Georgia.