Free speech and Palestinian rights advocates on Monday hailed a ruling by a federal judge declaring the unconstitutionality of a Georgia law prohibiting the state from doing business with anyone advocating a boycott of Israel.\u0022My First Amendment rights were restricted on behalf of a foreign government, which flies in the face of the principles of freedom and democracy.\u0022—Abby Martin, plaintiffU.S. District Court Judge Mark Cohen\u0026#039;s 29-page ruling (pdf) addresses a 2016 Georgia law stipulating that \u0022the state shall not enter into a contract with an individual or company... unless the contract includes a written certification that such individual or company is not currently engaged in, and agrees for the duration of the contract not to engage in, a boycott of Israel.\u0022After plaintiff Abby Martin—an award-winning U.S. journalist and filmmaker critical of Israeli crimes against Palestinians—refused to sign the pro-Israel oath, a planned paid speaking engagement at Georgia Southern University was canceled.Announcing her lawsuit—in which she was represented by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF)—Martin declared in February 2020, \u0022I will not forfeit my constitutional rights by signing this pledge.\u0022Cohen\u0026#039;s ruling states that Georgia\u0026#039;s law \u0022prohibits inherently expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment, burdens Martin\u0026#039;s right to free speech, and is not narrowly tailored to further a substantial state interest.\u0022\u0022The requirement... that parties seeking to contract with the state of Georgia sign a certification that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel is also unconstitutional compelled speech,\u0022 Cohen wrote, citing as precedent the U.S. Supreme Court\u0026#039;s 1982\u0026nbsp;NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Company ruling, a landmark decision protecting the right to boycott.\u0026nbsp;Cohen also cited\u0026nbsp;Baird v. State Bar of Arizona, a 1971 U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of a law school graduate who refused to disclose whether she had ever been a member of the Communist Party or any organization advocating the forceful overthrow of the United States government.\u0022Even assuming that Georgia\u0026#039;s interest in furthering foreign policy goals regarding relations with Israel is a substantial state interest, defendants fail to explain how Martin\u0026#039;s advocacy of a boycott of Israel has any bearing on Georgia\u0026#039;s ability to advance foreign policy goals with Israel,\u0022 Cohen wrote.Martin, CAIR, and PCJF applauded Monday\u0026#039;s ruling.I look forward to the law being formally struck, but very excited that Georgia’s anti-BDS law is now unenforceable due to the judge ruling it unconstitutional.— Abby Martin (@AbbyMartin) May 24, 2021\u0022I am thrilled at the judge\u0026#039;s decision finding this law unconstitutional as it so clearly violates the free speech rights of myself and so many others in Georgia,\u0022 Martin said in a statement. \u0022My First Amendment rights were restricted on behalf of a foreign government, which flies in the face of the principles of freedom and democracy.\u0022\u0022The government of Israel has pushed state legislatures to enact these laws only because they know that sympathy and support for the population they brutalize, occupy, ethnically cleanse, and subject to apartheid, is finally growing in popular consciousness,\u0022 said Martin. \u0022They want to hold back the tide of justice by preemptively restricting the right of American citizens to peacefully take a stand against their crimes.\u0022PCJF counsel Mara Verheyden-Hilliard said that \u0022this ruling comes at a crucial moment, when millions of Americans are questioning the use of U.S.-provided weapons in the onslaught against the Palestinian people, and makes clear that the Constitution protects participation in the [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] movement, just as it protected the seminal civil rights and labor organizing boycotts that moved our society forward.\u0022\u0022This ruling comes at a crucial moment, when millions of Americans are questioning the use of U.S.-provided weapons in the onslaught against the Palestinian people, and makes clear that the Constitution protects participation in the BDS movement.\u0022—Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, PCJFMurtaza Khwaja, executive director of CAIR Georgia, said that \u0022whether in speaking out against voter suppression laws here in Georgia or human rights violations against the Palestinian people, Georgians are actively engaged in their constitutionally protected right to free speech and coordinated boycott.\u0022\u0022Now, as much as ever, these rights must be cherished and preserved,\u0022 Khwaja added. \u0022The court\u0026#039;s [decision] today is a significant step in ensuring Georgians are able to do so freely today and in future.\u0022Spurred by pro-Israel politicians and a powerful lobby that often conflates opposition to Israeli policies and actions including the illegal occupation, settler colonization, and ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the perpetuation of what prominent critics call an apartheid system there, legislatures in dozens of states have passed laws (pdf) targeting the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for human rights.\u0026nbsp;However, federal courts have now ruled that anti-BDS laws in three states—Texas,\u0026nbsp;Arkansas, and Georgia—are unconstitutional.