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Judge rules against Georgia in legal fight over Israel oath

May 25, 2021 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a Georgia law requiring some people to sign an oath involving Israel is unconstitutional.

A documentary filmmaker who refused to sign the oath sued the state last year, saying the law is in violation of free speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Requiring people who want to do business with the state to pledge that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel is “unconstitutional compelled speech,” U.S. District Court Judge Mark H. Cohen wrote in his recent ruling.

A spokeswoman for the Georgia Attorney General’s office, which represented the defendants, said it was unable to comment at this time, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Lawyers representing the state have said previously that Georgia’s law does not infringe on the First Amendment.

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Georgia’s 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 at a Georgia Southern University media conference was then cancelled.

The law is similar to others passed in recent years in more than 20 states, including Texas, Arizona, Arkansas and Maryland.