The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has welcomed what it calls a major victory in their lawsuit against Georgia’s Israel boycott law after a federal district court ruled forbidding boycotts of Israel was a violation of the First Amendment. According to a statement on the CAIR website:
May 24, 2021 In an order released today, Judge Mark Cohen ruled that the University System of Georgia violated journalist and filmmaker Abby Martin’s constitutional rights when it cancelled her speaking engagement on a college campus because she refused to sign a state-mandated oath pledging not to engage in boycotts of Israel. Martin is a well-known advocate of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which the court ruled is protected by the First Amendment.
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Abby Martin, a progressive journalist and activist formerly employed by Russian state broadcaster RT, was informed that her booking to speak at a February 2020 conference at Georgia Southern University on Critical Media Literacy had been canceled when she refused to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel. Martin, represented in court by CAIR, rose to prominence as a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and has a history of making anti-Semitic statements. She has also accused Israel of using “Hitler’s methods against another minority to maintain a Jewish majority.”
The lawsuit is still in its early stages, and the federal court has not yet ruled whether the state law should be struck down. Georgia is one of 26 US states that have enacted laws to hinder the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to economically and socially pressure Israel.
CAIR, a part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood in the US, describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group” founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the US Hamas infrastructure at that time. In May 2021, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that CAIR had joined an initiative to boycott a planned virtual White House Eid celebration hosted by President Biden in connection with his stance on the violence in Israel and Gaza.
Prior GIOR reporting on CAIR has also included:
- A November 2020 report that CAIR had issued a statement congratulating Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on his victory, vowing to hold the forthcoming administration accountable on Muslim inclusion and civil rights issues.
- An April 2021 report that a coalition of American Muslim advocacy organizations tied to the US Muslim Brotherhood had published a report on American Muslims elected or re-elected to public office during 2020.
- A May 2021 report that the United States Council of Muslim Organizations had published an open letter calling on President Joe Biden to appoint a State Department special envoy to monitor and combat Islamophobia.