Saturday, October 21, 2017

Precondition of no boycott Israel for Harvey relief applicants causes controversy

Texas is requiring applicants to certify they will not boycott Israel
A Harvey relief application for residents in Dickinson, Texas is requiring applicants to certify they will not boycott Israel, which caused disputes.

Houston Public Media, issued by the University of Houston, quoted on Friday the American Civil Liberties Union as reporting that the city of Dickinson' s condition on Harvey Relief Fund applications violates the free speech rights.

Dickinson is located about 50 km southeast Houston and the Hurricane Harvey which made landfall on Aug. 25 caused huge damages to properties over there.

The city of Dickinson is requiring applicants for Hurricane Harvey rebuilding funds to certify in writing some building codes, including the term of not taking part in a boycott of Israel.

  • "By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement," the application reads at the very bottom. 

Houston Press said on Friday that the small town of Dickinson is now making national news for what appears, before any context is provided, to be a totally random loyalty pledge to a foreign country that has absolutely nothing to do with Harvey recovery.

Both the Houston Press and the Houston Public Media pointed to a Texas law, which was passed in May, prohibiting state agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel.

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law, he said, "As Israel's No. 1 trading partner in the United States, Texas is proud to reaffirm its support for the people of Israel and we will continue to build on our historic partnership," he said. "Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally."

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