BALTIMORE, Monday, August 09, 2021 (WAFA) – The Maryland office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) recently called on Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith to immediately withdraw his “baseless and unconstitutional” threat to take state action against Ben & Jerry’s in response to the company’s recent announcement that it would halt business operations in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
In a letter addressed to Wobensmith, CAIR stated: “We write to express deep concern with your office’s reported plan to violate the First Amendment of the Constitution by investigating and punishing an American corporation for its decision to stop doing business in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
“CAIR is deeply concerned and alarmed by your recent announcement that Maryland is reviewing state contracts with Ben & Jerry’s over its decision to no longer sell its products in Palestinian Territories recognized under international law as illegally occupied by the Israeli government.”
It slammed Wobensmith’s threatened course of action as “unacceptable and unconstitutional” as US courts have ruled that anti-boycott laws violate violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.
“Our government should not and cannot punish American companies for engaging in free speech, including the constitutionally protected right to boycott,” it said.
“The Constitution of the United States guarantees all Americans the right to free speech. That includes an American corporation’s right to avoid participation in the Israeli government’s human rights abuses against the Palestinian people, which the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem and other human rights groups have described as apartheid.”
CAIR urged Maryland Secretary of State to “immediately stop dedicating valuable state resources to the investigation of an ice cream company” and to “respect the free speech rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.”