Fired School Employee Sues Over Israel Loyalty Oath

A Texas school employee has sued her school district because it fired her after she refused to sign a loyalty oath to Israel, as Marjorie Cohn reports.

By Marjorie Cohn
Truthout

In a return to the bad old days of McCarthyism, Bahia Amawi, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, lost her Texas elementary school job after refusing to pledge in writing that she would not participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Earlier this month, Amawi sued the school district that fired her.

The BDS movement against Israel has become a hot button issue in the closing month of 2018. A bipartisan group of senators tried to attach the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to the unanimous spending bill that Trump almost signed to avoid the current government shutdown. Meanwhile, Donorbox, a US software company, blocked the BDS fundraising account at the behest of a pro-Israel group.

“The language of the affirmation Amawi was told she must sign reads like Orwellian – or McCarthyite – self-parody, the classic political loyalty oath that every American should instinctively shudder upon reading,” Glenn Greenwald wrote at The Intercept.

Amwai: Knows firsthand oppression. (DemocracyNow/YouTube)

On Dec. 12, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit on Amawi’s behalf in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas against Pflugerville Independent School District, alleging that Texas’ law requiring the oath violates the First Amendment. Amawi’s complaint says the law constitutes an impermissible attempt “to impose an ideological litmus test or compel speech related to government contractors’ political beliefs, associations, and expressions.”

Amawi had contracted with the school district for nine years to work with students with autism and developmental disabilities in Austin. This fall, for the first time, Amawi was required to sign an oath that she would not boycott Israel. When she refused to sign it, she was fired.

“The point of boycotting any product that supports Israel is to put pressure on the Israeli government to change its treatment, the inhumane treatment, of the Palestinian people,” Amawi explained. “Having grown up as a Palestinian, I know firsthand the oppression and the struggle that Palestinians face on a daily basis.”

BDS

The BDS movement was launched by representatives of Palestinian civil society in 2005, calling upon “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era … [including] embargoes and sanctions against Israel.”

This call specified that “these non-violent punitive measures” should last until Israel fully complies with international law by (1) ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the barrier wall; (2) recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and (3) respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their land as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.

Even though it is a nonviolent movement, Israel sees BDS as a threat to its hegemony over the Palestinians. Israel illegally occupies Palestinian territories, maintaining effective control over Gaza’s land, airspace, seaport, electricity, water, telecommunications and population registry. Israel deprives Gazans of food, medicine, fuel and basic services, and continues to build illegal Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Vikomerson: No progress without pressure on Israel. (Twitter)

“There will not be progress toward a just peace without pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian rights,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace. “Bringing about that pressure, through a global grassroots mobilization, is exactly what BDS is about.”

After Amawi’s firing, The New York Times editorial board wrote,

“It’s not just Israel’s adversaries who find the [BDS] movement appealing. Many devoted supporters of Israel, including many American Jews, oppose the occupation of the West Bank and refuse to buy products of the settlements in occupied territories. Their right to protest in this way must be vigorously defended.”

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of BDS, said in an email to The New York Times, “Having lost many battles for hearts and minds at the grass-roots level, Israel has adopted since 2014 a new strategy to criminalize support for BDS from the top” in order to “shield Israel from accountability.”

Barghouti called Shurat HaDin, the group behind the Donorbox action blocking the BDS account, a “repressive organization with clear connections to the far-right Israeli government” that is “engaging in McCarthyite … tactics … in a desperate attempt to undermine our ability to challenge Israel’s regime of apartheid and oppression.”

Twenty-six U.S. states have anti-BDS laws and 13 others are pending. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would have to be reintroduced when the new Congress convenes in January, was supported by Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) opposed the bill.

Boycotts’ 1st Amendment Protection

The law that triggered Amawi’s firing prohibits the State of Texas from entering into government contracts with companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel. It defines “boycott Israel” to include “refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict harm on, or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israeli-controlled territory.”

Boycotts are a constitutionally protected form of speech, assembly and association. They have long been used to oppose injustice and urge political change. The Supreme Court has held that “speech on public issues occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection.” The high court ruled that advocating and supporting boycotts “to bring about political, social, and economic change” – like boycotts of Israel – are indisputably protected by the First Amendment.

The National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights wrote in a legal memorandum challenging anti-BDS legislation in New York that such laws “harken back to the McCarthy era when the state sought to deny the right to earn a livelihood to those who express controversial political views.” The memo says, “The courts long ago found such McCarthy-era legislation to be at war with the First Amendment,” as they “unconstitutionally target core political speech activities and infringe on the freedom to express political beliefs.”

Barghouti: McCarthyite tactics.  (YouTube/BBC)

Even staff members at the right-wing Anti-Defamation League (ADL) opposed anti-BDS laws and admitted they are unconstitutional. Although the leadership officially favors outlawing BDS, ADL staff wrote in an internal 2016 memo that anti-BDS laws divert “community resources to an ineffective, unworkable, and unconstitutional endeavor.”

Greenwald cited the grave danger anti-BDS laws pose to freedom of speech, tweeting, “The proliferation of these laws – where US citizens are barred from work or contracts unless they vow not to boycott Israel – is the single greatest free speech threat in the US.”

Demonstrating the incongruity of allowing Amawi to boycott any entity but Israel, Greenwald noted, “In order to continue to work, Amawi would be perfectly free to engage in any political activism against her own country, participate in an economic boycott of any state or city within the US, or work against the policies of any other government in the world — except Israel.”

The US government remains Israel’s lap dog on the world stage. On December 5 the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. The United States opposed the resolution.

Meanwhile, the BDS movement continues to achieve victories. After more than 24,000 people complained to HSBC, the banking giant pulled out its investments in Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. Elbit sells military equipment, including drones, aircraft, artillery and weapon control systems to the Israeli army, US Air Force and British Royal Air Force. It also provides surveillance equipment to the US Customs and Border Protection agency.

On the legal front, the ACLU has mounted successful court challenges to anti-BDS laws in Kansas and Arizona and has filed litigation in Arkansas and Texas.

Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and an advisory board member of Veterans for Peace. Her latest book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, was recently published in an updated second edition.

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70 comments for “Fired School Employee Sues Over Israel Loyalty Oath

  1. January 8, 2019 at 9:17 am

    I wonder how many other loyalty oaths there are that teachers are forced to swear to? This really is McCarthyism all over again. What a shamble freedom of speech and tolerance is in the “greatest democracy in the world”.

  2. Dunderhead
    January 6, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    What an otter travesty of justice, this will be the straw that broke the camels back to national recognition of Israel’s interference in the American body politic, not to mention, this makes American Jews look bad, whom happened to make up a substantial portion of the antiwar not to mention libertarian communities, to say nothing of this being a complete affront to the constitution. This Will not stand.

  3. Ken Cox
    January 6, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    I found the text of House Bill 89:

    https://legiscan.com/TX/text/HB89/2017

    It specifies Israel. I stand corrected.

  4. January 6, 2019 at 1:46 am

    Well, Texas is the stupid state. We should let Texas secede from the union. Texas has “dumbed down” the history books, and made them more “propagandistic” than they, already, are. As far as allegiance is concerned, students shouldn’t be pledging, even, to the US flag; because of our evil foreign policy and. certainly, not to another country. Students should be reciting the Preamble to the Constitution, instead.

  5. Ken Cox
    January 6, 2019 at 1:45 am

    Post disappeared.
    Again:
    Neither the state of Texas nor the Federal government has required anyone to sign an allegiance oath to Israel.
    Texas state law requires contractors doing business with Texas agencies (school districts, in this case) comply with international trade agreements between the United States and other nations.
    As a private citizen, Bahia Amawi can promote the economic boycott of Israel or any other nation with which America has made trade agreements. As a contractor she may not. The state of Texas and the subject school district have asked her to affirm in writing that, in her capacity as a contractor to the state and the school district, she will comply with Texas state law.

    • Calgacus
      January 6, 2019 at 3:47 pm

      Again
      (1) Texas announced this as targeted at BDS, as a support of Israel.

      (2) Interpreting trade agreements as overriding the Geneva Conventions is ridiculous as a matter of law.

      (3) Texas is not allowed to have its own foreign policy. This law intrudes on a federal prerogative. States cannot pass laws restricting advocacy of overthrowing the US government even. They can only restrict state employees from advocating overthrow of the state government.

      (4) It would be unconstitutional if the Federal Government did it.

      (5) Even if the US Congress did it and it passed the US courts, this absurd law, again would be a violation of International Humanitarian Law, the Geneva Conventions.

    • Dunderhead
      January 6, 2019 at 6:59 pm

      Your perspective is interesting in that I am really having trouble figuring out whether you are in AIPAC shill, neocon or just one of the brainwashed members of the private citizenry who will support Israel no matter what because they wish to bring about the end times and are following their version of prophecy, either way the utter hypocrisy of what you are saying is worthy of Orwell’s doublespeak.

      You may wish to ask yourself someday, are the people of Israel any safer being in a perpetual state of war? The American empire is over, these games are going to bring instruction upon the neocon and Likud factions, as much as I would like to be a fly on the wall for that, it will cause unnecessary suffering to everyone else, you might as well face it, we are a long way from the days of John Foster Dulles or LBJ, not to mention the media is a much bigger animal, this is going to look bad for everyone.

  6. Ken Cox
    January 5, 2019 at 11:43 am

    Neither the state of Texas nor the Federal government has required anyone to pledge allegiance to Israel.
    Rather, Texas state law prohibits agencies, such as school districts, from contracting with any contractor in violation of international trade agreements between America and other nations. Nothing more. Nothing less.

  7. Silly Me
    January 5, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Opposing Israel in a headscarf might imply things that most commenters would likely oppose.

    Israel and Hungary seem to understand that in order to preserve your culture, you have to stand up for it, even if outsiders disagree. Israelis have the bad luck of being in the wrong place in the wrong time, because they have been played from the very beginning. That doesn’t leave them with much choice. Palestinians seem to be treated (like Kurds in Syria) as “collateral damage” by the true editors of the game.

  8. Deniz
    January 4, 2019 at 11:31 am

    The politicians just figured that if they have to sign a loyalty oath to Israel, so should their constituents.

  9. Ken Cox
    January 4, 2019 at 11:16 am

    The state law discussed in this article prohibits the state of Texas from contracting with ANY contractor in a manner which violates ratified international trade agreements between the nation of the United States and any other nation. In other words, the state of Texas, a member of the greater body of the United States, cannot operate in conflict with international agreements made between the greater body and another national entity.
    If the school district employed Bahia Amawi directly, so that the district and Bahia Amawi had an employer-employee relationship, the issue would not exist: as an employee, Bahia Amawi would have the natural and constitutional right to boycott and speak her mind. However, as a contractor, and not an employee, Bahia Amawi has run up on the rocks and shoals of unintended consequences. The state law does not have as its intended purpose the promotion of Israel at the expense of Bahia Amawi’s constitutional liberties, but, rather, the intended purpose of assuring the state of Texas’s compliance with international trade agreements between the United States and other national entities.
    I don’t know why the school district has a contractor-contractee relationship with Bahia Amawi the Contractor, instead of an employer-employee relationship Bahia Amawi the Employee, but it does, and this has created the problem.
    Perhaps if Bahia Amawi formed a corporation, and subsequently that corporation contracted with the school district to provide Bahia Amawi’s services, then Bahia Amawi, an employee of her own corporation, could boycott anyone she chose to boycott, and otherwise exercise her constitutional and natural rights to speak her mind as an individual and not as a contractor.
    Just sayin’.

    • Calgacus
      January 5, 2019 at 11:46 am

      Unintended consequences?:

      Gov. Greg Abbott and other lawmakers trumpeted the 2017 statute, or House Bill 89, as a stand against official Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions, or BDS groups, that have targeted Israel… Abbott said after signing HB 89 into law. “Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally.”

      ACLU sues Texas schools, AG over Israel boycott law

      BDS is based on violations of the Geneva Conventions, like settlements in the occupied territories, which have been condemned by unanimous resolutions of the UN Security Council (including the USA on one occasion even). War crimes are more serious than infractions of trade agreements.

    • jadez
      January 10, 2019 at 8:54 am

      shill…total cut and paste paid for comment.
      and also a lie

  10. michael
    January 3, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    An american citizen must sign a loyalty oath…to Israel, in order to be employed in America? Loyal… to what? To bind oneself to conduct business or choice of engagement by mandate?

    What next? Loyalty to serve in the Israeli military? To cheer when Israel incarcerates or murders?

    How stupid can America become?

    • zman
      January 5, 2019 at 11:42 am

      Believe me, that is not a question that you want answered. Scary examples can be found in the Carolina’s pro-Israel laws.

  11. bardamu
    January 3, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    This is actually stranger and in some ways more extreme than McCarthy and Nixon and HUAC. The loyalty oath here is to a foreign nation, and one from which many individuals have been driven by force of violence.

  12. Realist
    January 3, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Supposedly free American citizens cannot practice their constitutional right to deliver simple rhetoric against a nation of murderous international war criminals, but those criminals are given American tax dollars, advanced weaponry and no end of encouragement by the American government to continue their stunningly frequent massacres of unarmed victims crying out for justice. Talk about standing morality, justice and basic logic on its head! Someone must have revised the “good book” to now cite the relevant quotes as “Blessed are the peacemakers, for Washington will send them quickly to their eternal reward in the purported afterlife.” And, “whatsoever thou doest in the name of Israel, so thou doest in the name of Washington.”

    Pretty sure I just blew any chance I ever had of being employed by the state of Texas. Fortunately, I stay far away from the place.

  13. AnthraxSleuth
    January 3, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Call me old fashioned.
    But, seems to me that every legislator that voted/votes for anti BDS legislation is in violation of their oath to uphold the constitution.
    Charge them. Try them. Convict them. And, put them in prison for 5 years for each instance of violating their oath.
    That’s the only way to stop this.

    • zman
      January 5, 2019 at 11:50 am

      Strange that this is an ‘open secret’ in DC (and throughout the states) that the US citizenry are unaware of. As long as people get all their ‘news’ from the MSM, they will never know. It was pretty well known online about AR senator Cotton being bought and paid for by Israel, but the people of Arkansas are oblivious to the facts. He was front and center in the letter to Iran BS and the invitation for Bibi to speak before CONgress. I wonder if the $1M he got from Israel after his election had anything to do with his involvement? Surely not…after all he ran wearing his military uniform, carried the bible and expounded on his patriotism.

  14. BigTim
    January 3, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Where is the ACLU in this?

  15. Douglas Baker
    January 3, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    01/03/2019 Amazing that state legislators would limit the right of free speech as though butchers of the United States Constitution dismembering it in favor of a higher power pledging allegiane first to a terrorist country founded upon the murder of tens of thousands of Semite Palestinians with hundreds of thousands running for their lives so as to not be raped, wounded or murdered by non-Semite Europeans waging a war of aggression against Palestinians through invasion and occupation that continues to this day, with the country having launched Pearl Harbor like sneak attacks on its neighbors continuing the invasion and occupation of foreign lands to this day.

  16. Monist Mabe
    January 3, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Hopefully Bahia Amawi will receive enough support to take this all the way to the Supreme Court. Not only is the Israel Anti-Boycott Act blatantly unconstitutional, but demanding loyalty to foreign states amounts to treason.

    • January 3, 2019 at 5:22 pm

      Monist Mabe, I couldn’t agree with you more, you hit the hypothetical nail right on its head. I believe Bahia Amawi will receive plenty of support to take this case all the way to the US Supreme Court. Oh, wait! The Supreme Court had already ruled that boycotts are a vital part of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution and a form of free speech.
      Therefore, the current Supreme Court just needs to verify this fact and Bahia Amawi can return to her post as a children’s speech therapist, along with back pay.

    • January 3, 2019 at 10:08 pm

      Remember 4 out of the 9 Supreme Court justices are Israeli American citizens.

  17. Drew Hunkins
    January 3, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    Off topic:

    Don’t look now, but the corporate media are just starting to gin up their attack on Berrnie Sanders’ potential ’20 prez campaign. They’re going to attack him based on rampant sexism and sexual harassment by his staffers in his ’16 campaign. This propaganda is ramping up right now.

  18. jeff montanye
    January 3, 2019 at 3:14 am

    states shouldn’t really have foreign policies. hope this lady’s suit brings some measure of justice. but the only realistic hope for this widening catastrophe is the one state solution: israel recognized as sovereign in all of palestine, from the gaza to the golan, from all of jerusalem to all of the west bank, and one person one vote in this eretz israel. we can then figure out what to do with the next six trillion dollars not spent on “seven countries in five years” and the world’s goodwill from the next two million people we don’t murder.

    after all, the israelis control all of palestine. it is theirs; they conquered it, and they can defend it with hydrogen bombs (initially armed with u.s. triggers stolen by mossad hollywood producer arnon milchan whose third production, the medusa touch, featured a plane flown into a new york skyscraper. https://en.wikipedia.org/wi….

    the two state solution is an illusion or a delusion; it’s opposed at the highest levels in israel and would be a recipe for further conflict if it occurred. only the one state solution can ever improve the lives of the palestinians who then will become israelis.

    it will be far different than the blacks and whites in south africa. in eretz israel, really all it takes to become indistinguishable is to learn another (very similar) language, get a new haircut and wear a different hat. with such radically changed motivations, these new israelis will surprise many with their loyalty to a country they are finally part of and can help control to some degree, rather than being attacked and dispossessed by it.

    so the palestinians would be immediately vastly better off. the rest of the world, particularly the u.s., would be wonderfully lightened of an excruciating burden. and for those israelis who don’t want to wait for the next slap, stab, body or suitcase bomb, not to mention attack by hezbollah and iran, as good a chance as any and better than most.

    this change need not wait to be instituted until “all”, or a majority, of the palestinians renounce violence. it especially need not be negotiated with the current palestinian “leadership.” it clearly could be done, and probably should be done, on an individual basis. when the holdouts see what a better life the brave early adopters lead, and the actual new powers and benefits of citizenship they possess, as opposed to the endless, fruitless battle for palestinian “victory” (never, ever going to happen), perhaps future violence against israel will be lessened.

    remember that for all its persistence, the ira never got northern ireland which the british wanted far less than the israelis want the west bank and the golan heights (and possibly even gaza, now that they see it as a birthing place for terrorism against the jewish state).

    • anon
      January 3, 2019 at 8:01 am

      More zionist propaganda for the “one state solution” to perpetuate their extreme racism and warmongering instead of diplomacy, and their massive theft from, and destruction of the lives of the Palestinians. Why not let the Palestinians be “sovereign in all of palestine” and let the Israelis pick up the scraps in a besieged and brutalized Gaza? Too fair for you, is it?

    • January 3, 2019 at 8:25 am

      What self respecting Palestinian could ever agree to any, so-called, peace plan cobbled together by the Jews occupying the whole of Palestine, after all the years of cruel repression they have endured at the merciless whims of their Jewish occupiers? The “wounds” inflicted upon the innocent Palestinians have been vicious, continuing and unrelenting; they are forever seared into history, the souls of Palestinians and the World at large; nothing in modern times comes close to exceeding the maniacal intent and behavior, demonstrated hourly, by what can only be described as psychopathic aberration applied by deluded human beings, in order that they may rob, torture and steal, in the name of their God. No, the suffering diaspora of Palestinian Peoples, supported by the true law-abiding humanitarians of the World, including blind harry and his dog, will not allow this great injustice to go “quietly into that dark night”. All of the people devising this new “future” for the Palestinians, have their snouts deep into the mire of shekels, and that is it, they do not possess one iota of justice, conscience, or reason; just the desire to get rich.
      ?It needs repeating; Palestine belongs to the Palestinians,period; therefore it cannot be right for the Jewish People to occupy it. Amen, It is written.

  19. Mario
    January 2, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Watch “Rick Sanchez blasts the loyalty oath sweeping US”

    https://www.wrmea.org/#

  20. Nathan Mulcahy
    January 2, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    I proudly boycott Israel.

    • JOHN CHUCKMAN
      January 5, 2019 at 9:01 pm

      If the label says “Israel,” I avoid it as surely as if the product were on a list list of things dangerous to health.

  21. Jeff Harrison
    January 2, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Benjamin Franklin is quoted as responding to a woman who asked if we had a republic by saying ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’

    If you can keep it. I seriously doubt that we can. We are supposed to be self governing. The Supreme court is there to decide if laws transgress the strictures of the Constitution but they shouldn’t have their time taken up with this kind of blatant first amendment violation. If we don’t have an electorate that actually believes in what our Constitution actually says, we won’t have that republic because the Supreme Court can’t protect us from our own stupidity.

    • Old geezer
      January 4, 2019 at 12:15 am

      Like that stupid guy James Damore, what a dummy.

  22. Joe Tedesky
    January 2, 2019 at 8:26 pm
    • Dunderhead
      January 3, 2019 at 9:42 pm

      Great article, Wayne Madsen is a good writer and strategic culture is a great publication, anyway thank you, these are seriously dark times man though in many ways I think this country actually deserves Donald Trump it’s never pleasant to see those who have been institutionally marginalized again being raked over the coals.

  23. dean 1000
    January 2, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Marjorie, if the road to hell is really paved with good intensions, bible thumpers, Jews and Muslims are squabbling over which group gets to drive the paving machine. Some of them are as vicious as the Pilgrims but aren’t satisfied giving the miscreants a round or two in the dunking stool. They want your economic life blood – your job or right to contract freely.

    If I understand the piece of paper baring actions against Israel posted by Glen Greenwald, the speech therapist is a professional employee rather than a contractor even though she signed a contract. The person who fired her should be required to take a remedial reading class.

    Written contacts, as you know better than I, are required by governments to prevent fraud. Today written contracts, corporate and government, are too often intended to commit fraud and tyranny. It began with the investor sweet heart deals in NAFTA and other trade agreements. All 3 branches of government have condoned or actively support this unconstitutional fraud and tyranny. The Hobby Lobby decision “establishes” the religious tyranny of corporate owners. So it is not surprising that an outlier like Trump got elected.
    The 1st Amendment is largely a dead letter. In a country burdened by a supreme court suffering from the perception that money is speech, we really need a congress that is too big to bribe.

    • Sam F
      January 2, 2019 at 10:30 pm

      No doubt you mean “too principled to bribe” although one might speculate that a vast Congress, created by forcing the present representatives to vote in accordance with state and local legislatures, might really require too much money to influence, with too much evidence thereof.

      Better of course to eliminate the bribes by amendments restricting funding of elections and mass media to limited individual contributions, or similar means.

      Of course our Supreme Court is as corrupt as possible, the pinnacle of the pyramid of corruption that is the Judicial branch. No one has any constitutional rights in federal court, unless they belong to the insider tribes, whereupon a pretense of upholding rights is made. Money has long bought elections in Congress and the Executive, and its sycophants appoint the judges who have served oligarchy the best.

  24. January 2, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    In honour of Ms Bahai Amawi I’m joining BDS today. Joining any online movement is a first for me. The Texas Attorney General should review the imposition of School Board contractual requirements which broach the Consitution’s First Amendment.

    • January 3, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Me too!!

    • Frederike
      January 3, 2019 at 4:21 pm

      I have already done so some time ago.

    • Josep
      January 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm

      While I am not keen on boycotting whole countries, I wouldn’t mind joining BDS if it weren’t for the computers I run having components/chips made in Israel, especially Intel’s x86 CPUs. Does AMD make chips in Israel too? Would I have to switch to ARM or some other CPU architecture then?

  25. January 2, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Israel literally lobbies for, or outright buys it’s own political agenda into actual – LAW – here in the U.S., but we American citizens are supposed to be obsessed and outraged with small scale Russian click-bait Facebook ads about puppies and Pokemon somehow “influencing” the last election in some mysterious way that really can’t be rationally explained. This is slap-stick, laughing out loud, completely divorced from reality lunacy of the a rather rarified order indeed.

    Here in America both parties embrace this completely surreal “Israel first” agenda which includes not only the anti-BDS legislation and the constant undermining of pro-Palestinian rights organizations here in the U.S., but military support for the entire – “hey let’s militarily destabilize the entire freaking Middle East so Israel’s happy” – agenda that came out of the unmentionable dual-citizenship marriage of American neocons and right wing Israeli policy goals that first captured U.S. foreign policy during Bush the Dumber’s reign.

    The marriage of U.S. deep state, pentagon and Wall Street interests with Israeli policy goals in the Middle East can perhaps be fully sanctified only when we take the obvious next step and simply insert the word: – “Israel” – into the Pledge of Allegiance – you know, give our kids a head start on this whole pro-Israel brain-washing thing.

    • RogerB
      January 3, 2019 at 9:36 am

      Thanks for saying it.

      You speak for millions of Americans.

    • Pamela
      January 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      Can our members of Congress have dual citizenship & wouldn’t it be a conflict of interest?

      • January 3, 2019 at 9:41 pm

        Pamela: I did a quick google search and here’s a list of just the Congressional Democrats from before the last election who are dual U.S.-Israeli citizens – and yes, I agree Pamela, it is one hell of a huge conflict of interest:

        112 CONGRESS
        THE US SENATE [13]

        Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Al Franken (D-MN) Herb Kohl (D-WI) Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) Joseph Lieberman (Independent-CT) Carl Levin (D-MI) Bernie Sanders (Independent-VT) Charles Schumer (D-NY) Ron Wyden (D-OR) Michael Bennet (D-CO)

        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES [27]

        Gary Ackerman (D-NY) Shelley Berkley (D-NV) Howard Berman (D-CA) Eric Cantor (R-VA) David Cicilline (D-RI) Stephen Cohen (D-TN) Susan Davis (D-CA) Ted Deutch (D-FL) Eliot Engel (D-NY) Bob Filner (D-CA) Barney Frank (D-MA) Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) Jane Harman (D-CA) Steve Israel (D-NY) Sander Levin (D-MI) Nita Lowey (D-NY) Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) Jared Polis (D-CO) Steve Rothman (D-NJ) Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) Adam Schiff (D-CA) Brad Sherman (D-CA) Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) Henry Waxman (D-CA) Anthony Weiner (D-NY) John Yarmuth (D-KY)

      • January 3, 2019 at 11:02 pm

        To the moderator: please tell me that my response to Pamela wasn’t posted because it actually showed a list of dual-citizen (U.S.-Israeli) members of Congress??? That would be beyond bizarre and an example of exactly the issue this article reflects on.

        • January 3, 2019 at 11:03 pm

          First post just appeared out of nowhere. Thanks.

  26. mike k
    January 2, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Shadows of things to come. Our Rulers work constantly to control our minds. A world of obedient slaves is their goal. They tolerate CN and similar sites, because they have such negligible effects on the populace as a whole. That we are allowed to protest is a testament to their near 99% success in brainwashing the public.

  27. Eric32
    January 2, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Wait until the Saudi loyalty pledges become mandatory. ;-)

    I think they’ll need more media presence for the brainwashing to become that strong, but they’ve got the money, and the Bushes certainly like them.

    • anon
      January 2, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      The Saudis lack the media presence, connection to christian fundamentalism (however irrational), and ability to pretend that Hitler is hiding behind every tree. They will have to buy the US mass media from the zionists, get their own appointed to the top federal offices, and let us all know that they deserve special rights over their neighbors due to suffering in ancient times.

      Perhaps they can expose Christ as a Bedouin, make spectacular movies about their own persecution under the Ottomans, and establish anti-persecution clubs at colleges to persecute all who disagree.

  28. January 2, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    This may be the weirdest story of the year. And that’s saying something because America is a weird place these days.

    https://opensociet.org/2018/12/17/texan-loses-her-job-for-refusing-to-sign-a-loyalty-oath-to-israel-no-the-oath-isnt-to-america-or-texas-its-a-pledge-to-israel/

  29. January 2, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    You might think just plain pride and decency would prevent the legislating of such terrible laws.

    But those seem to be qualities completely missing in this era of American politics.

  30. January 2, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Kudos to you Ms. Cohn for pointing out this particular atrocity of justice carried out by the Zio thugs and lunatics. But Ms. Cohn, you’ve been one of the biggest promoters of the other current raging McCarthyism: the Russiagate hysteria.

    A little consistency would be nice.

    • Calgacus
      January 2, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      Yes, it is sad that someone like Cohn abandoned objectivity and respect for logic and evidence in order to join the Russiagate McCarthyite witchhunt.

  31. Clint Moose
    January 2, 2019 at 10:34 am

    The legal campaign against the BDS is one of the most laughable out there. With every legal win it achieves the exact opposite of what it seeks to. BDS had negligible effect outside palestinian communities for years before the governments campaigns started.

    Respect to Amawi for not giving up and helping to raise awareness.

    As an Israeli who is against occupation and boycotts settler and settler supporting products, allow me to say thanks to Amawi and people having the courage not to submit. You are helping the cause.

    • Hank
      January 2, 2019 at 11:46 am

      So let me get this straight- I work hard and pay taxes, as millions of Americans do, so that US states, counties, cities can make me sign an oath of allegiance to a foreign nation? That doesn’t make sense! The only oath that Americans should be signing, when it comes to any public employment, is an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the USA”, not some Middle Eastern nation that violates every UN Resolution in sight and gets away with it because of the USA’s protection! Israel should be using Iran as an example of humanity instead of attacking it for being the “foremost sponsor of terrorism on the planet”. I would one day like to see some REAL HARD proof to back this over-used and phony claim! From where I sit, it is the USA, Israel and Sandi Arabia who are doing the aggression part in the so-called “war on terror”. The REAL fact is that it is a WAR OF TERROR against mankind, all based on an OBVIOUS lie that Arabs/Muslims flew planes into the World Trade Centers and thee Pentagon!

      • Anne Jaclard
        January 3, 2019 at 1:33 am

        A US citizen shouldn’t have to pledge loyalty to ANYONE – that was the lesson of the McCarthy era. This also shows how detached anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are in today’s era – you would think that Texas far-right militia type people would be opposed to foreign Jewish law due to their conspiratorial and xenophobic personalities but instead they applaud it because they love Israel.

  32. January 2, 2019 at 10:11 am

    The article makes clear that anti-BDS is illegal. It describes the essence of the suit.

    “This call specified that “these non-violent punitive measures” should last until Israel fully complies with international law by (1) ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the barrier wall; (2) recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and (3) respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their land as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.”

    It is troubling what we “officially” are doing to the Palestinians. But as or more troubling is what our behavior toward Israel is doing to America. It is corrupting our sense of right and wrong and I think it has a great deal to do with our lawless behavior in the Middle East and beyond If we allow Israel to behave in this above the law manner, why not us. Israel continuously engages in lawless behavior beyond their borders, why not us.

    Perhaps this is overstated, but I don’t think so. The same ardent supporters of Israel’s behavior are often the same people who strongly influence our own.

    • January 2, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      It is not overstated.

      And well said.

      It seems such obvious truth it shouldn’t need saying, but it clearly does.

      The United States is a pathetic sight for many in the world. A powerful giant led around by a nasty little child’s constant whining demands.

  33. Sally Snyder
    January 2, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Here is an article that looks at how Israel has broken international human rights conventions that protect certain Palestinians:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/11/palestinian-children-and-israeli.html

    Similar actions by one of the Axis of Evil nations, Russia or China would be grounds for economic sanctions and the threat of military intervention, however, as we all know, generations of American politicians have proven themselves to be quite adept when it comes to ignoring the bad behaviours of Israel.

  34. dave
    January 2, 2019 at 6:07 am

    want a grant to rebuild from hurricane damage in Texas? Sign on the dotted line. However Item 11 says you cannot boycott Israel to get the grant

  35. JWalters
    January 2, 2019 at 3:39 am

    My thanks to Marjorie Cohn and Consortium News for this excellent article on this important topic. At present all US Senators are required to pledge allegiance to Israel or be moneybombed out of the political arena. Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi are already Israeli loyalists. Israel’s next step is to gut the 1st Amendment for all Americans. Articles and comments protesting Israel’s mafia control over America’s politicians and press will then become illegal. This is a thinly disguised war on America.

    • OlyaPola
      January 2, 2019 at 11:58 am

      “America”.

      It would aid understanding if you would define “America”.

      From analyses over extended phenomena and time research suggests that internally, but to a lessening degree, some “citizens of the United States of America” tend to conflate the temporary social relationship designated the “United States of America” with “America”; a geographical entity sometimes held to comprise of three parts, a part of this some “citizens of the United States of America” even conflating this through subsumption with “We the people” in assays of belief in mutual interest and unity, a subset of this some believing that a hologram of their own creation has been lost and every effort must be made to reconstitute it.

      So perhaps you could aid the understanding of others if you could define your terms of reference.

    • Mario
      January 2, 2019 at 11:42 pm

      The power of AIPAC is overwhelming in the US Congress & US Senate. The majority of our spineless US senators & Congressmen/Congresswomen are on their hands and knees groveling fodder from that huge AIPAC feeding trough. It doesn’t take much to wonder who is in control and who calls the shots?

      Checkout the PRO-Israel PAC Contributions to US Senators Through 12/31/2016:

      https://static.wrmea.org/pdf/2016pac_charts_senators.pdf

      • Fredd
        January 3, 2019 at 4:33 pm

        ‘The majority of our spineless US senators & Congressmen/Congresswomen are on their hands and knees groveling fodder from that huge AIPAC feeding trough.’ Not surprising. How many of them are holding dual citizenships?

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