Muslim school speech pathologist fired over refusing to agree to pro-Israel pledge
A Muslim speech pathologist at a Texas school filed a lawsuit against the Pflugerville school district for firing her over refusing to sign a “pro-Israel” oath in her work contract.Bahia Amawi is a child speech specialist and evaluates young children with speech difficulties. She began working for the Pflugerville Independent School district in 2009, and her work contract was renewed annually.
However, this year, Amawi noticed her new contract included an important condition, which was to vow to “not boycott Israel during the term of the contract” and not engage in activity “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.”
The work addition is part of a 2017 anti-Boycott Divest and Sanctions (BDS) law that was signed into Texas state law by Governor Gregg Abbott. Abbott famously said, “Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy.”
The contract did not include any other oaths pertaining to her job or political allegiance to the United States.
Amawi told the Intercept, “It’s baffling that they can throw this down our throats and decide to protect another country’s economy versus protecting our constitutional rights.”
When asked if she would agree to the pro-Israel oath, Amawi responds, “Absolutely not. I couldn’t in good conscience do that. 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.”
Anti-BDS laws are already enacted in many U.S. states. Currently, most Americans are restricted from supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, an international solidarity effort to end the Zionist occupation of Palestine. Amawi is not alone in being punished for her refusal to support Israel.