In 2018, Austin-based speech pathologist Bahia Amawi expected her new annual contract with Pflugerville ISD to be the very much the same as the past contracts she had signed since she began working with the school district in 2009. However, the new contract required the Palestinian-American Amawi to sign an oath not to boycott Israel, the result of the Texas anti-boycott Israel law that was passed in 2017. Amawi believed the oath violated her First Amendment rights, so she took federal legal action with the aid of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Amawi’s court fight is chronicled in director Julia Bacha’s documentary Boycott, which the spotlights the forces behind and traces the history of anti-boycott Israel laws adopted in 35 U.S. states that undermine the global Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The documentary also follows the separate legal action taken by Arkansas magazine publisher Alan Leveritt and Arizona attorney Mikkel Jordahl against anti-boycott Israel legislation that not only threatened their freedom of speech but placed them under financial duress. Boycott will screen during this year’s SXSW Film Festival at 6:45 p.m. Sunday, March 13 at the Stateside Theatre, 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 14 at the Rollins Theatre at The Long Center, and 12 p.m. Thursday, March 17 at the Alamo South Lamar. Boycott is also now available for SXSW Film Festival registrants to stream online beginning at 9 a.m. Monday, March 14. Julia Bacha previously directed Naila and the Uprising, My Neighbourhood, and Budrus, and co-directed Encounter Point.
Aired: March 14, 2022.