In response to communication from CAMERA, on Feb. 12 AP editors corrected both points detailed below. See below for a detailed update.
In an article Monday about a former Russia Today staffer and anti-Israeli activist who is suing Georgia, the Associated Press egregiously misrepresents the state's law which requires that those who want to sign a contract with the state must pledge not to boycott Israel. The Feb. 10 article ("Filmmaker who wouldn't sign Georgia's Israel oath sues state") about Abby Martin's lawsuit, in which she argues that the anti-boycott law is a violation of free speech, errs:
A Georgia law passed in 2016 requires some people to sign an oath pledging not to boycott the Israeli government in order to do business in the state.
AP's Jeff Martin, a breaking news staff, has committed a two-fold error. First, thelawdoes not narrowly address boycott of "the Israeli government." Rather, it applies to "boycott of Israel," which it defines as follows:
'Boycott of Israel' means engaging in refusals to deal with, terminating business activities with, or other actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel or individuals or companies doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories, when such actions are taken:
(A) In compliance or adherence to calls for a boycott of Israel other than those boycotts to which 50 U.S.C. App. Section 2407(c), as it existed on January 1, 2016, applies; or
(B) In a manner that discriminates on the basis of nationality, national origin, religion, or other unreasonable basis that is not founded on a valid business reason.
Thus, the law seeks to protect against boycott any company or individual with business interests in Israel, as the wide-ranging anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions) activities are not directed merely against the Israeli government, but also target, for instance, foreign artists who perform in Israel.
Second, contrary to the report, the law does not require signing a pledge "in order to do businessinthe state" of Georgia. (Emphasis added.) Rather, it much more narrowly requires signing a pledge in order to do businesswiththe state. This is a very significant distinction. In no way does the law require adherence to an anti-boycott pledge for business operators to simply hang a shingle in the state. The law explains that it is to "prohibit the state from entering into certain contractswith an individual or company unless such contracts contain a certification that such individual or company does not presently conduct a boycott of Israel and will not conduct such a boycott for the duration of such contract." (Emphasis added.)
As of this writing, AP has failed to address these substantive factual errors. In contrast, Times of Israel, which had published the AP story, did commendably correct its copy. The amended Times of Israel story now accurately reports:
A Georgia law passed in 2016 requires some people to sign an oath pledging not to boycott Israel in order to do business with the state.
Who Is Abby Martin?
Martin, producer of the film "Gaza Fights for Freedom," is aided in her lawsuit by the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Georgia. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2009 Holy Land Foundation retrial, the largest terrorism financing case in U.S. history. That Martin, a conspiracy theorist, would align herself with this organization is not a surprise. A 9/11 Truther, she has alleged that Al Qaeda's attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were an inside job.
More recently, she has completely rewritten events in order to defend violent rioting against Israel, falsely claiming that Hamas has "nothing to do with the [Right of Return] march" at the Gaza-Israel border, and that Israel is engaging in war crimes, including "directly targeting and assassinating by Israeli snipers of disabled people, of children, press and medics." As reported by CAMERA on Campus Cornell Fellow Josh Eibelman, Martin has "also accused Israel of using “Hitler’s methods,” an antisemitic attack against the Jewish state, and has been repeatedly praised in the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer."
Feb. 16 Update: AP Corrects
In response to communication from CAMERA, on Feb. 12 AP editors republished the article, and corrected both errors described here. The amended text accurately reports:
A Georgia law passed in 2016 requires some people to sign an oath pledging not to boycott Israel in order to do business with the state of Georgia.
Moreover, editors commendably appended the following correction to the bottom of the article:
This story was published on Feb. 10, 2020. It was updated on Feb. 12, 2020 to show that a Georgia law requires some people to sign an oath pledging not to boycott Israel, not the Israeli government. The story also was corrected to show that they have to sign the oath to do business with the state of Georgia, not to do business in Georgia.