Texas speech pathologist fired for refusing to pledge not to boycott Israel
Plaintiff had worked in Austin since 2009, but anti-BDS law added clause to contract that she says violates her First Amendment rights, reports The Intercept
A Texas school district allegedly fired a children’s speech pathologist because she refused to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel, prompting a First Amendment lawsuit, The Intercept reported on Monday.
The plaintiff, Bahia Amawi, has worked with developmentally disabled, autistic and speech-impaired pupils for the school district – which includes Austin, Texas – for nine years. The district had hired her on a contract basis in 2009, “to provide assessments and support for school children from the county’s growing Arabic-speaking immigrant community,” according to The Intercept, and renewed her contract annually without incident.
However, Texas enacted an anti-BDS law in May 2017, prohibiting contracts with companies that boycott Israel. As a result, The Intercept reported, Amawi’s latest contract, provided to her in August, required her to sign a pledge that she “does not currently boycott Israel,” that she “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract,” and that she shall refrain from any action “that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israeli or in an Israel-controlled territory.”skip – Haaretz Weekly podcast, Episode 8Haaretz Weekly podcast, Episode 8
Amawi, an Austrian-born citizen and mother of four, told The Intercept that she could not “in good conscience” sign the contract. “If I did, I would not only be betraying Palestinians suffering under an occupation that I believe is unjust and thus become complicit in their repression, but I’d also be betraying my fellow Americans by enabling violations of our constitutional rights to free speech and to protest peacefully,” she said.
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