Skip to content
Politicized Harvey Hurricane Relief-No Money For Israel Boycotters!
Houston Suburb Won’t Give Hurricane Relief to Anyone Who Boycotts Israel
HAARETZ – A Houston suburb will not approve grants to repair homes or businesses damaged in Hurricane Harvey if the applicant supports boycotting Israel.
The city of Dickinson’s application form for storm damage repair funding includes a clause stating that “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.”
No other clauses about political affiliations or beliefs are included in the form.
The state of Texas passed a law in May banning state entities from contracting with businesses that boycott Israel. The law, one of 21 passed in states around the country in the past few years, has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union as unconstitutional.
Local TV news station KTRK reported that the damage Dickinson received “may be the worst of Harvey,” with more than 50 inches of rain in 72 hours. The widely-distributed photo of residents of a nursing home waiting to be rescued as floodwater reached their waists was taken in Dickinson.
Calls to the offices of the mayor and the city secretary were not returned.
JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY – The American Civil Liberties Union criticized a city in Texas for requiring applicants for Hurricane Harvey rebuilding funds to certify in writing that they will not take part in a boycott of Israel.
The website for Dickinson, Texas, is accepting applications for individuals and businesses who need assistance following the devastating August hurricane. According to the application, those who sign must verify that the applicant “(1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.”
The application appears to be in line with a state law, signed in May, that requires all state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel.
ACLU calls the Dickinson application a violation of free speech rights.
“The First Amendment protects Americans’ right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression,” said ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura in a statement. “Dickinson’s requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of ‘subversive’ activity.”
On Oct. 11, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a public school math teacher in Kansas who was denied a state contract because she participates in the anti-Israel boycott.
Supporters of laws aimed at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement argue that refusing to do business with a country is not protected speech, and that longstanding laws forbidding “support” for foreign state boycotts of Israel apply to the business transaction, not the political motivations. If anti-boycott laws are considered unconstitutional, proponents argue, then Americans would be free to violate existing sanctions preventing business with countries like Iran, Cuba or Sudan.
You may also like...