Elementary School Speech Pathologist in Texas Fired For Refusing to Take Israel Loyalty Oath

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Elementary School Speech Pathologist in Texas Fired For Refusing to Take Israel Loyalty Oath

A decade ago, I would have said, “sounds like an Onion story!”, but in our current political climate, that particular jab has lost its potency. This story from The Intercept is both ridiculous and all too believable—a speech pathologist lost her job at a Texas elementary school because of…well, Israel. Here’s Glenn Greenwald:

[the pathologist] has been told that 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

The pathologist, Bahia Amawi, has worked with students in Texas for the past nine years, and is a U.S. citizen who has lived in the country for 30 years. This year, she received her usual contract extension from the Pflugerville Independent School District, but she noticed something different:

a certification she was required to sign pledging that she “does not currently boycott Israel,” that she “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract,” and that she shall 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 Israeli or in an Israel-controlled territory.”

As Greenwald noted, this is the only “political affirmation” someone from the state of Texas must sign to work in the school district—not something about America, but something about Israel. The absurdity is thick.

Amawi had, in fact, already chosen not to buy Israeli goods, so she didn’t sign the oath, and ultimately she was fired. Additionally, she’s the only Arabic-speaking pathologist in her district, which will fundamentally hamper the education process for many children.

Amawi’s lawyers have filed a lawsuit against the district, who included the language because of a state law that passed in 2017. It’s worth reading the entire article for more context on the BDS movement and the people trying to fight it (including New York governor Andrew Cuomo), and exactly why it’s constitutionally illegal in the first place.