ACLU sues over Kansas anti-BDS law
American Civil Liberties Union files lawsuit against state law that prohibits pariticpation in boycotts against Israel; suit claims Kansas teacher was denied teaching contract for refusing to agree to not boycott Israel; teacher in question reportedly boycotting Israeli products because of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, claiming that Kansas law violates her free speech rights.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a Kansas law prohibiting state contractors from participating in boycotts against Israel.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit Wednesday for a Wichita public school curriculum coach. It says Esther Koontz was denied a state teacher training contract because she wouldn't sign a statement saying she wasn't boycotting Israel.
The lawsuit says Koontz is boycotting Israeli products because of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, and that the Kansas law violates her free speech rights.
The law took effect in July. The pro-Palestinian group Palestine Legal says 21 states have such laws, but the ACLU says this is its first challenge.
In recent years, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, which aims to "end end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians," has picked up steam, with major figures in the academic, political and global economy fields voicing their disapproval of Israeli actions.
One of these is British director Ken Loach, who announced on Monday he will be donating the proceeds from the screenings of his latest film in Israel to the BDS movement.
Loach's film, "I, Daniel Blake," was widely acclaimed and screened in front of audiences at packed theaters in Israel last spring. At the end of the week, the British branch of the boycott group published a statement revealing it had been the recipient of all proceeds from the film's screening in Israel donated by Loach.
"Ken Loach, thank you for the support and generosity, it gives us strength," the organization's members told the British director.
The Kansas attorney general's office did not immediately reply to phone and email messages seeking comment.