As the war between Israel and Hamas intensifies, students in New Mexico, as across the country, have shown support for Palestinians’ rights.

They have walked out of classrooms, published an open letter, marched, and held signs in protest, using their constitutionally protected rights to call for an immediate ceasefire. They have also called on New Mexico's state government to stop subsidizing worker training programs for one of the country's leading weapons manufacturers whose weapons have fueled Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

All these actions are protected under the New Mexico and U.S. constitutions, no matter how offensive or controversial some may find them. Indeed, New Mexico’s Constitution goes even further than the U.S. Constitution in protecting free expression.

The ACLU of New Mexico takes no position on the Israel-Hamas conflict. But we take a strong position against state censorship. We will zealously defend New Mexicans' speech rights, especially when state censorship targets those who also face racism or other oppression, including Jewish and Palestinian people.

A little-known executive order from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham threatens to deprive New Mexico's students and others of their constitutional rights. Executive Order 2022-118 adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's widely criticized "working definition of antisemitism" and orders all state executive agencies to use this definition in enforcing the law.

The national ACLU, Jewish Voice for Peace, and other organizations have criticized the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's flawed definition because it lumps in criticisms of the government of Israel and support for Palestinian rights with antisemitism.

One can criticize Israel's policies and actions - or support Palestinian people's rights - without being antisemitic.

So last month, the ACLU of New Mexico sent a letter to the governor urging her to rescind this dangerous and unnecessary order. So far, the governor has left the order intact.

We are deeply concerned that our state government could use the executive order as the basis for silencing protected speech. We have begun to see signs that our fears could be realized.

In September, before Hamas's attack on Israel, the pro-Israel group Santa Fe Middle East Watch attempted to use the governor’s order to suppress speech. The group claimed that the University of New Mexico’s anthropology department would violate the order by hosting the Palestinian poet, journalist, and activist Mohammed El-Kurd to present its Anthropology Colloquia. The group urged its supporters to contact the governor and the UNM Board of Regents to denounce the department's alleged violation of the executive order.

El-Kurd ultimately spoke on campus. But the executive order could chill speech in New Mexico in the future - particularly as state governments erode students’ civil liberties on campuses across the country.

Restrictions on peaceful speech, protest, and expression have no place in our democracy. We urge the governor to immediately rescind Executive Order 2022-118.

Kristin Greer Love is the Senior Civil Liberties Attorney of the ACLU of New Mexico.

This op-ed was originally published in the Albuquerque Journal.