NEW YORK (Jul. 16)
A study by the American Jewish Congress has determined that Senate Bill 1203, which would close the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the U.S, is constitutional and protective of free speech.
The study noted that the U.S. Congress has recognized in past legislation that the PLO constitutes sufficient threat to international order to require special controls and limitations upon its activities in the U.S., including a ban on the entry of foreign members of the PLO.
“It would seem at least paradoxical that the same terrorist body whose members are barred from entering this country should continue to function freely, especially since (its) offices serve as the principal mechanism for the coordination, supervision and direction of PLO activities in the United States,” the study said.
It stressed that SB1203 protects First Amendment rights. “It is only the PLO as a foreign entity which is prohibited from transacting business in this country and then only until it renounces the use of terrorism as a political method,” the study said. Under the proposed legislation, American sympathizers with the PLO would be free to speak on its behalf and continue to be members of the organization and solicit money on its behalf.
The study, “An Analysis of Legislation Directed at Closing of PLO Offices in the United States,” was prepared by Phil Baum, associate executive director of the AJC, and Marc Stern, co-director of its Commission on Law and Social Action. Both are attorneys who specialize in constitutional law.