Independent

No, a Texas woman did NOT lose her job for refusing to sign “pro-Israel pledge”


Here’s the headline of a Dec. 18th article at The Independent:

The claim that a Texas woman was forced to sign a “pro-Israel pledge” is repeated in the opening paragraph of the article.

A speech pathologist at a Texas elementary school has sued after allegedly being forced out of her contract job at an elementary school for refusing to sign a mandatory pro-Israel pledge. 

Bahia Amawai, a US Citizen who has resided in the country for more than 30 years, is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Pflugerville Independent School District in the suburban Austin, Texas area for alleged violation her First Amendment rights. 

Explicitly, the certification she was mandated to sign pledged that Ms Amawai “does not boycott Israel,” and that she “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract.” In addition, she must also pledge to 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 Israel,” or in the occupied West Bank, which the contract called “Israeli-controlled territory,” the Intercept reported

First, it’s telling that the article is based on a report at the Intercept by Glenn Greenwald, a far-left activist who never misses an opportunity to smear Israel and its supporters, often by using antisemitic tropes and dog whistles.  In fact, the Indy’s characterization of the requirement as a “pro-Israel pledge” was clearly inspired by language used by Greenwald in his report.

However, as Constitutional Law Professor David Bernstein explains, the law’s requirement can be more accurately described as an anti-discrimination clause – similar, on constitutional grounds, to laws “requiring a contractor to pledge that the business does not refuse to hire Muslims, or Jews, or blacks”, etc.  Further, contrary to the Indy’s claim, there’s nothing in the law – which is similar to anti-BDS laws in many other states – which prohibits individuals like Ms. Amawai from boycotting Israel in her personal capacity. It only applies to her business, as Bernstein notes:

the school district certification applies to the business, “it,” not the individual “she.” ….Ms. Amawi is not being asked to pledge that she, in her personal capacity, will not privately boycott Israel, much less that, e.g., she will not advocate for boycotting Israel or otherwise refrain from criticizing Israel.

….

this story is being widely misreported, the hysterical claims that Amawi is being forced to sign a pro-Israel pledge or personally do or not do anything in particular regarding Israel outside the context of her business are false.

Tellingly, the Indy didn’t even bother to include a comment by a supporter of the Texas law, or anyone contradicting Greenwald’s false narrative that pro-Israel forces in the US are silencing pro-Palestinian voices and undermining the First Amendment protection of free speech.

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18 replies »

  1. This is a perfect example of when the relationship between Israel and America’s right wing paints Israel in a shitty light.

    I live in Texas. They don’t hire the smartest people to draft laws here in Texas. This isn’t the first time the anti-BDS law has been mixed in with outcries of personal preferences. Good job, GOP.

    The focus of anti-BDS laws should be to reign in folks AirBnb who purposefully bow to pressure to discriminate against Israelis. Unfortunately, this story has taken precedence over the confusing news this week as to whether AirBnb is still going to boycott West Bank properties.

    Adam, can you provide any more information on that front?

    • The right doesn’t have a monopoly on stupid people drafting laws. Try California. They’re no better at it.

      • How many crappy laws has California politicians written that have affected Israel? Tell me what they are. Because this article here? It’s about a Texas law, applied in Texas. Poorly drafted and making Israel look overbearing. But you want to talk California. Okay, Jeff. California politicians include Richard Nixon and Ronnie Reagan, among other fine GOP comrades. Heck, Putin’s favorite congressperson is from Orange County, Jeff.

        But I guess everyone in California is a liberal because they…. surf?

          • For you it’s all GOP all the time.
            No, you stated, “They don’t hire the smartest people to draft laws here in Texas.”
            You live there so I’ll have to take your word that you know about that for now. I lived in California for 25 years as a Democrat, so I can tell you that stupidity is an equal opportunity employer. Whether those laws affect Israel or not is besides the point. But I wouldn’t call parts of California, especially the California left, Israel friendly territory. California universities are cesspools of anti-Israel activity and calls for boycotts. I don’t think California has drafted anti-BDS legislation, or done much of anything to ameliorate the hostile climate for Jewish students at universities such as SFSU, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, etc.
            But let’s get something straight – the claims of the pro-BDS crowd are the problem.
            Sen. Feinstein from the SF Bay Area where the anti-Israel crowd crawls up your back, along with Socialist Bernie Sanders, are protesting a federal anti-BDS bill in Congress on spurious 1st Amendment grounds, It’s the same tactic BDS uses everywhere.

            • “No, you stated, “They don’t hire the smartest people to draft laws here in Texas.”

              I worked at the Capitol, Jeff. I lived among them. I worked on these bills, Genius. I KNOW HOW STUPID TEXAS REPUBLICANS REALLY ARE, AND THEIR STUPID LEAD TO THESE STUPID CONTROVERSIES REGARDING ISRAEL.

              And I wrote all of that in my two messages. But you? You whine about California while ignoring all that was written about THIS FREAKING LAW IN TEXAS THAT ADAM’S PAGE IS DEVOTED TO.

              Jeff, Crazy Eddie, and the Hag. Oh yeah. You guys are the smartest in the room

              Thank you for being you, Chum.

              • All upper case letters and name calling make you look like a nut.
                I have lived amongst, and worked for California Democrats. I know how stupid they really are.
                I’m beginning to wonder if you read the article.
                The law didn’t mischaracterize itself. It was mischaracterized by Glenn Greenwald, “a far-left activist who never misses an opportunity to smear Israel and its supporters, often by using antisemitic tropes and dog whistles.”

                “this story is being widely misreported, the hysterical claims that Amawi is being forced to sign a pro-Israel pledge or personally do or not do anything in particular regarding Israel outside the context of her business are false.”

            • None of your bitching about the UC system has anything to do with laws. You know, the subject of this thread.

              Jeff, you are a pathetic little man. You deserve the likes of Crazy Eddie and the Hag as your best virtual buddies.

              Say goodbye to your credibility, Jefe.

              • “None of your bitching about the UC system has anything to do with laws.”

                And with that nonsensical response, I rest my case.

              • krackheadmoron, You’re the kind of Socialist Alvy Singer spoke of in Annie Hall.

                “one of those guys with saliva dribbling out of his mouth who wanders into a cafeteria with a shopping bag screaming about socialism”.

  2. The false story on the boycott law was published in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. Is there something Camera can do to get a correction?

  3. The ‘state of Israel’ is a crime. From day one until now. Crimes should be advocated as being crimes. A full boycott of this ‘state’ is the only right thing to do.

    • Dick,

      Your terrorist jihadi pals can’t even beat a bunch of little Jews?

      What a Nakba! LOL!

      Happy Workplace Accident!

    • Rick,
      Israel just might be the most legally constituted state in the world. So of course you say it is a crime. It’s what we expect mental munchkins like you to offer. Crime concerns the awful treatment of Jews throughout your history, i.e., the slanders and smears, the discriminatory laws and treatment, the pogroms, and violence done against this tiny minority who have done nothing to you, and who only want to be stopped being picked on already. Enough is enough.

  4. The dismissed lady is a speech therapist. I imagine that the only way she could have boycotted Israel within the confines of her work would be to refuse to teach an Israeli child. I imagine that if any speech therapist were to refuse to teach a black, Catholic, red headed whatever pupil, she would be fired even without any special clause prohibiting boycotting any of the above groups.
    This legislation is at the least problematic. If it is to be included in contracts, I think that some examples of what is permitted and what is prohibited within the confines of the clause is desirable, so that people wishing to sign the contract should be fully aware of what they are permitted to do and what action would bring about the cancellation of the contract