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Letter: Boycotts Are Still Speech (NY Daily News)

In his June 11 Op-Ed on the governor’s blacklist of entities that boycott Israel, Professor Eugene Kontorovich claims that “boycotting Israel isn’t free speech” protected by the First Amendment because the act of boycotting is conduct, not speech. But political boycotts — compared to simply economic boycotts — are a way people convey political ideas, similar to other conduct like leafleting or protesting. That’s why the Supreme Court considers political boycotts speech protected by the First Amendment. The governor’s order — which penalizes entities for boycotting Israel expressly for political purposes — is therefore an affront to the First Amendment and our country’s commitment to free speech.

Erika Lorshbough
Legislative Counsel
New York Civil Liberties Union

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