November 15, 2018 — New York
AJC, in an amicus brief, is asking the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reverse a lower court’s decision blocking implementation of an Arizona law barring the state from contracting with participants in a boycott of Israel.
“Arizona lawmakers, like state officials across the country, recognize that the BDS campaign aims to single out Israel for punitive action and does not offer a path to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace,” said AJC General Counsel Marc Stern. “In fact, BDS movement leadership seeks and has actively promoted the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.” Arizona, he continued, is entitled to make sure that it does not participate in that boycott through its contracting for goods and services.
Earlier this year, a federal district court ruled in favor of Mikkel Jordahl, who claimed that the law, HB 2617, constrained him and his law firm from expressing support for the BDS movement and participating in boycotts of Israel.
AJC, however, points out in its brief that HB 2617 “does not prevent individuals from participating in boycotts in their personal capacities, nor does it prevent individuals from expressing their personal views regarding boycotts or association with others who share their views.”
What the Arizona law requires, AJC states, is that “a government contractor, in its capacity as a contractor, certify that it is not currently engaged in a boycott that impairs the State’s commerce with Israel.”
The district court’s decision, if allowed to stand, would allow contractors to deprive Arizona of normal market access to Israeli prescription drugs, electronics and construction equipment, and other goods and services, AJC argues.
Moreover, AJC’s brief notes that the district court ruling “stands as erroneous and adverse precedent with respect to the law of twenty-three other States adopting legislation or executive orders toward the same end.”
The amicus brief filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Mikkel Jordah and Mikkel Jordahl, P.C. v. The State of Arizona and Mark Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General, was prepared by Gregory E Ostfeld and Elizabeth S. Ralph of Greenberg Taruirg LLP.