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Bahia Amawai BEST Represents “Born in America” Free Speech via Palestinian Rights
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Bahia Amawai BEST Represents “Born in America” Free Speech via Palestinian Rights

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Not long ago the Zionist-Israeli and Christian lobby were patting one another on the shoulder for having been able to make it State Law, in at least 26 States, to refuse to accept any Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) against the State of Israel.  More than half of American citizen live in States that support Israeli policies, as a matter of law, right or wrong.

Israeli or US Democracy?

Simply if you wanted to work as a contractor, or do business with those who opposed one sided policies, and were part or associated the BDS movement, BEWARE, as you had to get in step with Israeli dictated policies, regardless of your religious, political or personal values. 

Now consider the story of Bahia Amawai, a school teacher, who was not able to renew her employment contact in Texas when she noticed one extremely significant addition to the previous one.

Amawai was required to sign a document 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.”

This clause had been added due to a change in State law which makes it illegal for anyone doing business with Texas to take a stand against Israel, or basically to conduct peaceful protest by participating in the BDS effort.

Chutzpah for Palestinians too!

However, she had the audacity to stand up where two-faced politicians were shaking in their boots, even when most of them are lawyers and they definitely know better. Such legislation and executive orders that States are using to pander to the Zionist lobby is illegal. Restricting protected free speech under the guise of supporting a friend and political ally is hogwash.

In short, what has happened on the political side shows how easy governors and others can be bought off on the State and National level. Not only have 26 states already passed such legislation, there are bills to introduce it in thirteen others.

Hence the vast majority of American citizens are now barred from supporting a boycott of Israel without incurring some form of sanction or limitation imposed by their State authorities. To make things interesting after her filing a Federal Law suit, the anti-BDS Camp is mum, as to speak out against her will have just the opposite effect.

Hard Headed

Even in Texas the media is not talking much, and as one reader wrote me,

“I've only seen her mentioned twice. There are a lot of Zionists, and I suppose they would oppose her depending on how hard headed they are. But I guess there is not much published opposition against her because it doesn't have much to stand on.

Opposition arguments don't have much weight, and especially now that more people are starting to understand that her firing over free speech is so anti-American.”

Amawai’s refusal to sign such a document, besides costing her a job, one she really enjoyed as a speech pathologist, may soon prove that the money spent on lobbying and paying off politicians to get this law passed may have been in vain.

This US citizen with Palestinian roots, having lived in America for 30 years, best shows that freedom of thought and action are not fancy words on paper but have real meaning.

She said that if she had signed the contract she would not only be “betraying Palestinians suffering under an unjust occupation, and thus becoming complicit in their repression, but I’d also be betraying my fellow Americans by enabling violations of our constitutional rights to free speech and to protest peacefully.”

The law which lit the current firestorm was signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott back in 2017. It directly stipulated that state agencies were prohibited from contracting with companies which participated in a boycott of Israel, even if that boycott had nothing to do with the goods and services which were the subject of the contract.

 The law, known as HB 89, charges the Texas Comptroller’s Office with making a list of “all companies that boycott Israel” and providing that list to state agencies. State pension funds are also prohibited from being invested in firms involved in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The law also applies to individuals who do business with state agencies, as they are also often legally contractors.

The bill passed the state House 131-0 and the state Senate 25-4.

“You can always count on Texas,” Abbott said at the signing ceremony at the Austin Jewish Community Center. “Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy.”

Many other states, from California to South Carolina, Kentucky and New York, have implemented similar laws by executive order or other enabling legislation, despite the fact their legislation is also subject to legal challenge in US Federal Court.

Horns of Dilemma

Do these governor and paid off politicians realize what a corner they have backed themselves into?

I doubt it - they appear to be a perfect example of brainwashed political elites, thinking that caving in to the Israeli lobby will result in votes and donations.   It is even possible that some could be naïve, thinking they're fighting for some great cause but who are, in fact, just a wheel in a vile machine so big that they can’t understand how it works, and so stupid to take the money and turn a blind eye as what they have become part of!

Anyway, it's an interesting bunch of worms that is being made to crawl out from the can, and with this court case, more will be feeling  the heat.  These so called “Jewish State” supporters have slipped in amongst some unsavory company – so I may as well them like a banjo for as long as it lasts with my articles.

Amawai's case has reignited long overdue conversations about whether boycotts are protected under the First Amendment. But it has also focused much attention on how Israeli, Zionist and Christian fundamentalist money has inundated and circumvented American political processes, both on the State and National level.

What has transpired, these laws existing in the first place, is an illegal mechanism of manipulation which those who are opposing this lawsuit are seeking to protect, not some new and specious interpretation of the First Amendment.

Civil liberties groups object to most of these laws, claiming they restrict companies or individuals from exercising their First Amendment rights to take a political stand against Israel or its occupation of Palestinian lands, or indeed anything else, as today’s restriction could equally be applied to another subject tomorrow, and you can bet your bottom dollar it will be.

At one time South Africa was the international pariah. Many individuals and organisations called for boycotts of South African goods, and of companies which did business with or invested in South Africa.

If the South African political lobby, backed by a Diaspora population in the US, with lots of money to grease political gears, had tried similar tricks to continue racist policies, all would have been screaming foul.

If any country should be ashamed of its institutional racism it is the US, because it knows how far that racism differs from its own professed values. It has taken Bahia Amawai to make the point, but now it has been made, this may be the first step in turning the tide. 

Making laws in America to protect a foreign power is something that should make any American citizen as angry as hell.

Author: Jeffrey Silverman