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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