Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Texas refuses aid to American supporters of BDS

People walk through water to a staging area to evacuate from flood waters from Hurricane Harvey in Dickinson Texas Clause in application requires Dickinson residents to agree not to boycott Israel to receive Harvey assistance
Erik Tate | 23 October, 2017, 04:29

A Texas city devastated by the catastrophic Hurricane Harvey will only provide relief funds to residents who pledge not to boycott Israel.

At first glance, most of the requirements outlined in the city of Dickinson's Hurricane Harvey Repair Grant Application and Agreement seem fairly commonplace. Indeed, the form mentions the funds provided coming from "various individuals, businesses, and other organizations" to help recover from the hurricane.

"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 form states.

"The Supreme Court ruled decades ago that political boycotts are protected by the First Amendment, and other decisions have established that the government may not require individuals to sign a certification regarding their political expression in order to obtain employment, contracts, or other benefits", the ACLU wrote in a statement, referring to a 1982 decision that ruled that an NAACP boycott of a white-owned business in MS was a protected form of free association and expression.

The Israel boycott provision in Dickinson's application is a strict interpretation of a Texas state law passed earlier this year that prohibits state agencies from contracting with companies that boycott Israel.

Critics, including the ACLU, are condemning not only the city's requirement but also Texas's anti-protest law-and similiar measures enacted across the USA and under consideration in Congress-as violations of constitutional free speech rights.

Israel to join USA in quitting Unesco
According to Foreign Policy , France's United Nations ambassador, Fran├žois Delattre, hoped the USA would stay within UNESCO . The critical juncture Fran├žois Delattre referred to may be the selection of UNESCO's new director-general.

OUTRAGEOUS - a condition of hurricane relief in Dickinson, TX requires that you agree not to Boycott Israel.

Dickinson's attorney, David Olsen, told Houston's ABC affiliate "until someone tells them something differently, they are obligated by state law to place this clause in their application". Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled that such political boycotts were a form of free expression and association and thus protected by the First Amendment.

"As Israel's number one 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", Abbott said in a statement.

"The city in no way advocates on behalf of the underlying political issue, but we're doing everything in our power to follow state law", he said.

Before you can receive any money from the City of Dickinson to start rebuilding your home or your business, the city is going to need you to make a few promises. The teacher, Esther Koontz, did not sign the contract due to her religious beliefs, and was denied funding. Kallinen said when it comes to individuals, there may be questions about how the law is interpreted.

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