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10 Sep, 2021 17:26

Texas governor branded hypocrite after signing anti-Big Tech free speech bill, having cracked down on Israel critics

Texas governor branded hypocrite after signing anti-Big Tech free speech bill, having cracked down on Israel critics

Republican Governor Greg Abbott has been slammed as a hypocrite after he signed an anti-Big Tech censorship bill on Thursday, with critics pointing out that he’s cracked down on Texans who’ve protested against Israel’s actions.

In a video on Thursday, Abbott claimed “freedom of speech is under attack in Texas,” before revealing he would be signing a law that “prevents social media companies from banning users based upon the user’s political viewpoints.” He said it would allow Texans to file lawsuits against “dangerous” Big Tech platforms that wrongfully suspend their right to post.

“In Texas, we will always fight for your freedom of speech,” Abbott concluded, as he signed the bill.

Though many US conservatives praised Abbott online for signing the bill, journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out that the same governor had previously used his power to crack down on pro-Palestine activists who protested against Israel.

“I’m happy seeing anyone take a stand against Big Tech censorship, but I also feel compelled to note that [Abbott] himself is one of the country's most repressive censors,” Greenwald tweeted on Friday, noting that the governor had championed a law that “punishes American citizens who refuse to take an oath about Israel.”

I can’t overstate how repressive is the censorship supported by Abbott and other mostly but not all red-state governors that punish citizens who advocate a boycott of Israel. Thankfully, the courts are declaring them unconstitutional, but Abbott is a fraud.

In 2017, Abbott’s office announced that the governor had “proudly” signed a new law that “prohibits all state agencies from contracting with, and certain public funds from investing in, companies that boycott Israel.”

At the signing of the bill, Abbott declared that “any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy” and “any boycott of Israel is considered to be un-Texan,” ultimately disregarding citizens whose views on the matter didn’t align with his own.

“We will not tolerate such actions against an important ally,” he warned.

A Muslim speech pathologist at an elementary school in Austin, Texas was subsequently ousted from her job after she refused to take an oath swearing she would not engage in a boycott of Israeli products or other such anti-Israel actions.

In 2019, a federal court in Texas ruled Abbott’s bill to be an unconstitutional violation of citizens’ First Amendment rights.

Also on rt.com Texas governor brands Gab ‘anti-Semitic platform’, company’s CEO points out Texas GOP is among its users

In March, Abbott also took aim at the social network Gab, calling it an “anti-Semitic platform” and declaring, in a video in which he sat in front of an Israeli flag, that it had “no place in Texas.”

Abbott received heavy criticism from Republicans for his anti-Gab stance, including from several Jewish conservatives who served in President Donald Trump’s administration.

The governor’s statement was branded “despicable and false” by Gab CEO Andrew Torba, who pointed out that nearly 800,000 Texans had visited the network in the previous 24 hours and that even the Texas Republican Party had a verified account on the site.

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