For the record, I support Israel’s right to exist, and strongly oppose the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement designed to punish the Jewish state.
A children’s speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told that she can no longer work with the public school district, after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation. A lawsuit on her behalf was filed early Monday morning in a federal court in the Western District of Texas, alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.
Here’s the Texas law:
Glenn Greenwald explains:
In order to obtain contracts in Texas, then, a citizen is free to denounce and work against the United States, to advocate for causes that directly harm American children, and even to support a boycott of particular U.S. states, such as was done in 2017 to North Carolina in protest of its anti-LGBT law. In order to continue to work, Amawi would be perfectly free to engage in any political activism against her own country, participate in an economic boycott of any state or city within the U.S., or work against the policies of any other government in the world — except Israel.
That’s nuts. Read the whole thing. What right should the state have to tell a public schoolteacher what she can and cannot buy, or what policies she cannot advocate? That is un-American. I would feel the same way if a state law forbade teachers from boycotting, or advocating the boycott of, Christian-owned businesses, for whatever reason. It’s not the state’s business, period, full stop.
Again: the BDS movement is wrong, and should be combated. But this is outrageous. I can’t get over the fact that Bahia Amawi, an American, can advocate against the interests of her own country, and be fine, but not Israel. Note that the bill was sponsored by an Evangelical and passed the Texas legislature by overwhelming margins.