A child language specialist who worked for an elementary school in Austin, Texas, is now without a job after she refused to sign an oath pledging that she would not boycott Israel.
The teacher was signing the renewal of her contract with the school district, where she has worked for nearly a decade when she noticed that was a new clause that stated she could not boycott or take any action to inflict economic harm on Israel.
The teacher has now filed a lawsuit against the school district. She claimed that she refused to sign the oath—not because she is against the Jewish people, but because she felt that signing away her right to criticize the Israeli government infringed upon her First Amendment rights.
The requirement for this oath comes as a result of a new law that was enacted in Texas last year. It was passed with almost unanimous support, and it prohibited state agencies from contracting with companies that boycott Israel.
In addition to passing the law, the Texas Comptroller’s Office was charged with making a list of all of the companies that “boycott Israel,” with the intention that state agencies would then be forced to boycott those companies.
Texas residents were also impacted by this law last year when Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of the state, and some victims were told they had to sign a pledge stating that they would not boycott Israel, in order to be eligible for aid.
Also, Texas is not the only state… there are actually a total of 26 states that have similar laws, specifically barring contractors from supporting a boycott on Israel. There are also similar bills pending in 13 states, which leaves just 11 states that without laws that prohibit boycotting Israel.
To put it into perspective, when he signed it into law, the governor of Texas said, “Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy.” So, Texas residents are allowed to criticize and boycott the U.S. government, and the state government in Texas—but not the Israeli government.