Texas teacher fired for not signing pledge to refuse to boycott Israel


Former Staff
Jun 2007
This floored me.

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 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 document:

A Texas Elementary School Speech Pathologist Refused to Sign a Pro-Israel Oath, Now Mandatory in Many States — So She Lost Her Job

How is this even legal?

This required certification about Israel was the only one in the contract sent to Amawi that pertained to political opinions and activism. There were no similar clauses relating to children (such as a vow not to advocate for pedophiles or child abusers), nor were there any required political oaths that pertained to the country of which she is a citizen and where she lives and works: the United States.

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 one extraordinary aspect of this story: The sole political affirmation Texans like Amawi are required to sign in order to work with the school district’s children is one designed to protect not the United States or the children of Texas, but the economic interests of Israel. As Amawi put it to 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.
How do they even enforce this? Random home checks to make sure she has Sabra in her fridge?


Former Staff
Jun 2007
Apparently this is not just limited to Texas.

I'm an independent contractor for the state of Ohio. I wonder if I signed off on this unknowingly?
Likes: Friday13
Mar 2012
New Hampshire
The BDS thing is becoming a big deal. I saw earlier that two recently elected congresswomen dont support Israel and some constituents said it should be known up front about it.


Former Staff
Jun 2007
Sounds sorta weird.

Need to hear both sides of this story....

My reaction, too. But I haven't found much in the way of anyone supporting this idea.

Looks like the ACLU fought it in Kansas, got concessions and then withdrew the suit.

In January, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law, finding that it violated the First Amendment right to participate in political boycotts. It was the first ruling addressing a wave of laws nationwide aiming to punish people who boycott Israel. The ACLU is also fighting a similar law in Arizona.

The Kansas law, which went into effect last July, had required that any person or company that contracts with the state submit a written certification that they are “not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel.”

In April, the Legislature enacted changes to the law, narrowing its scope in three ways. First, the anti-boycott certification requirement no longer applies to individuals or sole proprietors. Second, the certification requirement applies to companies only if they conduct more than $100,000 worth of business with the state. Finally, companies required to sign the certification must now state that they are “not engaged in a boycott of goods or services from Israel that constitute an integral part of business conducted or sought to be conducted with the state.”

ACLU attorney Brian Hauss, who argued the issue in court, said, “Thanks to the court’s ruling, Kansas lawmakers have now scaled back this law, but it still runs afoul of the First Amendment. The appropriate response would have been to repeal the law in its entirety. While the changes reduce the number of people required to sign the anti-boycott certification, the fundamental purpose of the law — to suppress political boycotts of Israel and chill protected expression — remains unconstitutional."
After Court Defeat, Kansas Changes Law Aimed at Boycotts of Israel
Jan 2015
Great State of Texas
One should be suspicious of "the Intercept" to begin with.

And, do we really believe that people are being fired for refusing to sign what sounds like forced political views that in no way in the real world could be enforced?

This sounds a little like propaganda to me.
Likes: Hollywood


Former Staff
Nov 2009
Israel does export stuff. So it's not that they couldn't be boycotted. It just has nothing whatsoever with a speech pathologist assisting developmentally disabled children. It's none of the school's business what the teacher does politically.

So in California, maybe the schools should require the teachers to pledge not to vote republican. That's a blue state. The red states can do the same... why should we citizens be allowed to make any decisions on our own, when our employers can just tell us what they will allow instead? Maybe we can adjust the law so that our employer votes for us.