Former teleSUR presenter and creator of The Empire Files Abby Martin was blocked from delivering a keynote speech at Georgia Southern University for refusing to "sign a contractual pledge to not boycott Israel" to comply with the anti-Boycott, Divest and Sanctions state law.
YouTube Censors Empire Files' Abby Martin on Israeli Militarism
"After I was scheduled to give a keynote speech at an upcoming Georgia Southern conference, organizers said I must comply with Georgia's anti-BDS law," Martin tweeted on Friday.
Since 2014, 28 states, among those Georgia, have adopted anti-boycott laws, including five executive orders issued by governors.
"I refused and my talk was canceled. The event fell apart after colleagues supported me." Martin is an outspoken critic of Israel’s apartheid government and anti-Palestinian policies.
As the nationwide crackdown on BDS continues, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Dec. 11 that will effectively allow the government to interpret Judaism as both a race or nationality and religion under federal law so that the Education Department can take direct action against what he views as “anti-Semitism on college campuses.”
Trump stated clearly that the decision targets the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) calling it an “anti-Semitic campaign against Israel.”
The order will trigger Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that requires educational institutions receiving federal funding to not discriminate based on national origin; meaning the government can now withhold federal funding from any college or educational program that is deemed to allow or endorse “anti-Semitism.”
BDS has gained notoriety in college campuses across the U.S. with more people understanding and backing the Palestinian struggle.
The non-violent BDS movement, however, was founded in 2005 by 170 Palestinian unions, political parties, refugee networks, and women organizations, among others, has gained such renown that it was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Inspired by South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, BDS calls for non-violent pressure on Israel through boycotting any organization linked to the state of Israel, withdrawing investment from Israeli companies, and sanctioning the county until Israel recognizes the right of Palestinian refugees to return, ends the illegal military occupation of Palestine, and ends the apartheid regime by recognizing Palestinian's equal rights and stops human rights abuses.