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Texas judge strikes down anti-BDS law in victory for Palestine

Christian Fernsby ▼ | April 26, 2019
A district judge ruled that enforcing anti-BDS clauses violated freedom of speech, after a Muslim American speech pathologist was fired for refusing to sign a ‘No Boycott of Israel’ clause.
No Boycott of Israel
America   The court ruled that the Texas Anti-BDS Act suppresses unpopular ideas
A judge in the US state of Texas has struck down a law, which allowed officials to ban the awarding of state contracts to people or entities that support boycotts against Israel.

The law had resulted in a Muslim-American, Bahia Amawi, losing her job as a speech pathologist over her refusal to sign a ‘No Boycott of Israel’ clause.

Her case was taken up by the Muslim civil liberties advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which filed a suit against Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, on the grounds that the law violated Amawi’s constitutional right to free expression.

The court ruled that the Texas Anti-BDS Act suppresses unpopular ideas, and manipulates public debate on Israel and Palestine through coercion rather than persuasion.

Thursday’s verdict means all similar clauses in state contracts are void and that Amawi will be allowed to resume her work at a local school.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a grassroots campaign, which calls on individuals, businesses, and government to cease their economic and cultural ties with Israel until it stops its occupation of Palestinian land and oppression of Palestinian people.

Its success in the last decade has made countering it a foreign policy priority for Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

In the US, Israel’s primary ally and financier, politicians from both major parties have sought to prohibit BDS despite clear legal warnings that doing so will be unconstitutional.

Legislatures in 25 US states have passed laws sanctioning those who take part in BDS by not allowing them to access government contracts. The measures can apply to state employees, such as law enforcement officers, teachers, and public health officials, among others.