We are prepared to fight the corporate BDS battle both at home and in Europe, where discriminatory trade regulations have been enacted to target products originating in some disputed territories but not others. These regulations are based on religious and ethnic animus. We are now pursuing legal action challenging the impending implementation of new regulations denying the appropriate certification authority for goods being exported from these territories.
We have created strong partnerships with distinguished European lawyers who alert us to potential cases arising in the context of commercially discriminatory behavior by European and international corporations, as well as the proposal and/or adoption of laws in the European Union and its member states that discriminate in the ways described above. Moving forward, we are prioritizing these cases as a critical avenue to challenging commercial regulations being implemented for political and ideological reasons.
LP has also focused on legally combating discrimination by Middle East airlines operating out of U.S. international airports. We are very proud of our recent victory with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s statement regarding the discriminatory policies of Kuwait Airways in its refusal to sell airline tickets to Israeli passport holders. After we were alerted to the policies of several airlines, including Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC), we drafted a comprehensive analysis of the various state and federal laws being violated by KAC in its intentional discrimination against Israelis based on national origin and/or ethnicity, also addressing the potential liability of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey based on its status as KAC’s landlord at JFK International Airport in New York. This memo was distributed to the Port Authority’s legal team, and we communicated directly with Secretary Anthony Foxx of the U.S. Department of Transportation, urging him to seriously consider the legal implications of KAC’s and the Port Authority’s flagrantly discriminatory business practices. Following our communications, in a complete reversal of its previous determination, DOT sent a letter to Mr. Lovitky announcing that “Kuwait Airways unreasonably discriminated against Mr. Gatt in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 41310.” DOT’s analysis is heavily reliant on the arguments put forth in The Lawfare Project’s legal analysis and its new conclusions mirror those that were put forth in The Lawfare Project’s letter to Secretary Foxx. We are prepared to take further legal action to enforce the Department’s determination, if we are unsatisfied with the federal government’s response.
The LP also updates and distributes the most comprehensive analysis of state, federal and EU laws and regulations that prohibit boycotts and other commercial practices that discriminate based on ethnicity and national origin. This analysis has been sent to corporate counsel at Fortune 500 companies and small, local businesses as well. Corporate counsel of multinational businesses being pressured to implement discriminatory BDS practices have used this analysis to deter BDS advocacy and resolutions and protect the corporation from associated liability.
We provide pro bono counsel to small and large corporations with regard to the legal liabilities they would face under state and federal law if they engaged in BDS activity. Our counsel has successfully stopped pro-BDS votes at numerous corporations. LP Director of Research Benjamin Ryberg was the first person to apply New York’s Human Rights Law, which prohibits boycotts and other discriminatory business conduct based on the target’s national origin, in the BDS context.
The Lawfare Project actively combats BDS by publishing letters and analysis addressing the arguments put forward by BDS advocates. For example, LP wrote an open letter to the leadership of a labor union that adopted a resolution endorsing the BDS movement and its hateful and discriminatory goals and activities. LP also wrote a letter to the Virginia State Bar and all of its members after a planned Continuing Legal Education trip to Israel was cancelled due to BDS pressure. We think it critical that we respond publicly with the truth about BDS and call attention to the hypocrisy of any labor association taking a pro-BDS position. We will continue to combat BDS wherever it manifests, and to remind any organization and/or association considering BDS advocacy of the potential legal consequences of such action.
When companies pursue unlawful discriminatory practices against persons or products based on ethnicity or national origin, LP lawyers are prepared to file actions to vindicate the rights the injured parties, and to set necessary precedents under state and federal anti-boycott and anti-discrimination laws. Through the Legal Fund, the filing and court costs associated with the litigation will be covered.