A speech pathologist at a Texas elementary school has sued after being forced out of her contract job at an elementary school for refusing to sign a mandatory pro-Israeli 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 violating her First Amendment rights.
Since 2009, Amawai worked for the school district as a pathologist working with children with autism, disabilities and speech impediments. The Austrian-born mother of four speaks three languages fluently—English, German, and Arabic—and was brought on to provide assessment and support for children from the district’s growing Arabic-speaking immigrant community.
Every year, since the start of her employment, Amawai had her contract renewed without incident, The Independent reported.
However, the contract renewal process this past year was different for Amawai: This time around, the contract required her to sign a pledge to support the Zionist entity.
Explicitly, the certification she was mandated to sign pledged that 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.
The pledge pushes back against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), a boycott strategy to challenge the Zionist entity.
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the law in 2017 that allowed the school district to include this pledge as a mandatory requirement in her contract. The law dictates that Texas maintain a list of companies that are boycotting the Zionist entity and that they should be banned from working or being contracted by state agencies.
Texas is not alone in this, in fact, it’s the 17th state to pass a similar law. Other states with pro-Israeli pledges include California and South Carolina. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also implemented a similar law by executive order. Furthermore, about 26 states have passed anti-BDS laws, according to Palestine Legal.