Abby Martin, a US journalist and supporter of the BDS movement, was scheduled to speak at the International Critical Media Literacy Conference held in Georgia in February 2020. Her talk was canceled because she refused to sign a pledge that would have prevented her from talking about the BDS movement. Georgia, along with 27 other states, has enacted anti-boycott laws that work to restrict and prohibit state offices from doing business with companies that boycott Israel, as teleSUR English reported.
BDS—which stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions—is a movement driven by global citizen activists, teleSUR explained. The BDS movement works to peacefully pressure for-profit companies that do business with the state of Israel, with the goal of pressuring Israel to obey international law and understand that the Palestinian people deserve human rights.
BDS advocates argue that anti-boycott legislation like the law enforced in Georgia violates the right to free speech as protected under the First Amendment. Abby Martin has become vocal on platforms such as Twitter. teleSUR quoted one of Martin’s recent tweets, which stated, “We must stand firmly opposed to the efforts and not cower in fear to these blatant violations of free speech.”
Source: “Abby Martin Banned From Speaking at US University For Refusing to Sign Pro-Israel Pledge,” teleSUR English, January 17, 2020, www.telesurenglish.net/news/Abby-Martin-Banned-From-Speaking-at-US-University–20200117-0007.html.
Student Researcher: Kathleen Doyle (University of Vermont)
Faculty Evaluator: Rob Williams (University of Vermont)