Last year, letters from the state of Arkansas began drifting across my desk, demanding that our weekly newspaper, the Arkansas Times, either sign a pledge not to boycott Israel or forfeit all state advertising.
Initially, we and our longtime state agency clients simply ignored it and went about our business of producing a newspaper. But when the University of Arkansas System began strictly enforcing the law last fall, it told us that we had to sign the anti-boycott pledge in order to continue running advertisements for the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College.
What other pledges might state legislatures require if this law is upheld? And what might the federal government, which has considered passing a criminal anti-boycott bill, come up with? Could legislatures in blue states penalize citizens or businesses for flying the Confederate flag? Might red state legislatures prohibit the state from doing business within anyone who boycotts Trump family businesses? Imagine similar scenarios where boycotts of tobacco companies or political parties are at issue.
This law is a rabbit hole our country does not need to go down. Since when do American citizens have to pledge to act in the interest of a foreign power in order to do business with their own government? Since when does the state of Arkansas punish its own taxpayers in an effort to assist a foreign government with its domestic policy? 2b1af7f3a8