Texas City: No Harvey Relief If Applicants Boycott Israel

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Above Photo: Top photo | Damage is shown from Hurricane Harvey in Dickinson, Texas, August 27, 2017. Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

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As unrelated as Israeli settlements in Palestine and hurricane relief aid in Dickinson, Texas may seem to be, the small town has taken its cue from the statehouse in yoking them in the form of a refusal of Harvey relief aid to any supporter of a boycott protesting Israel’s illegal acts.

DICKINSON, TX — The town of Dickinson, Texas is home to just over 20,000 people, an annual crawfish festival, and one of the most absurd requirements for disaster relief imaginable.

The town recently made non-support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign a condition for receiving hurricane aid. How can a small town like Dickinson put forth such a gratuitous disaster relief requirement? In this case, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — Dickinson is simply following in the footsteps of the entire state of Texas.

Recently, Texas banned any contractor who supports the BDS campaign from receiving state funds. In the opinion of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies. Despite the head-scratching nature of that claim, at least to many critics in- and out-of-state, House Bill 89 was signed into law in July.

The bill specifies that the state may enter into a contract with a business only if that business does not boycott Israel. The bill also takes the extra step of specifying that businesses must “not boycott Israel during the term of the contract” either. The legislation also prohibits the state from entering into a contract with a business that refuses to buy products made in Israeli settlements — settlements that are illegally located on Palestinian land.

The city of Dickinson has taken the spirit of the bill a step further by refusing funds for disaster relief recipients supporting BDS. Brian Hauss, an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney, told the Intercept:

The City of Dickinson seems to be enforcing a Texas law that requires any state contractor, apparently including disaster relief recipients, to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel.”

Andre Segura, Legal Director of the ACLU of Texas, said of the requirement by Dickinson:

[It] 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.”

The ACLU has criticized Dickinson’s requirement for relief as a violation of free speech rights, as the right to boycott is protected under the First Amendment.

Apart from these First Amendment considerations, Dickinson was one of the worst-hit towns in the entire state, making the need for aid especially urgent, and its withholding in fealty to any political agenda especially problematic.

  • rgaura

    Bring out the lawsuits, this shit will not stand. Outrageous! Next, loyalty oaths to zionism!

  • DHFabian

    Making aid contingent on agreeing to this would be in violation of state and federal law. Great story for Je… Israel bashing, though. And we do need to acclimate ourselves to this sort of fascism.

  • DHFabian

    Do you know what Zionism is? Probably not. It’s about the re-establishment of the Jewish nation, and Israel’s right to self-determination. Jews are indigenous to this bit of land. It’s roughly the equivalent of the Cherokees taking back ownership and control over their historic lands here in the US.

    No question, much of the anti-Israel rhetoric today is as irrational, as disconnected from the facts, as other waves of anti-Semitism.

  • Helen4Yemen

    1) The only time we had the white man in our region is when he came as a tourist or colonial settler. The Ashkenazi is one of the whitest of any European groups at 99.9% European and 0% Middle Eastern. Do you think you can forever fake your European identity? We look at you and we see fake Israelite, pretenders.

    2) People do not colonize a far away land and then call it “self-determination”.

    3) The Ashkenazi is no Semite and the expression of ‘anti-semitism” need to be change to Judeophobia.

    4) You got the story of the Cherokees backwards. What do the Palestinians have in common with the indigenous people of the land that they now call “North America”?

    a) The colonizers were both white Europeans.

    b) The colonized were dark-skinned people of color and the colonizers white Europeans.

    c) Both white Europeans wanted only the land and not the people.

    d) Both white Europeans attempted the total remove of the indigenous peoples by expulsion or genocide.


  • Robert H. Stiver

    Voila — the Nazi-Zionist takeover of the once-promising experiment of American democracy…now failed irrevocably.

  • Linda Jansen

    Jewish Voice for Peace. Ever heard of it? Watch and learn: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/israeli-palestinian-conflict-101/

  • rgaura

    Don´t make silly assumptions. Zionism is manifested currently as an oppressive theocracy in Palestine/Israel. It is a vicious, apartheid system that completely disregards the civil and human rights of non Jews. Separate and unequal laws. I´m big on separation of church and state. Big on human rights, and respect in general. I know Israeli zionists who wholly subscribe to the Oded Yinon plan. Genocide is casually referred to as `they need to go somewhere else…´.

  • Robert H. Stiver

    Linda, I’d like to up you, but JVP demonized and undermined Alison Weir (IfAmericansKnew) two years or so ago. There is no better activist for Palestinian justice and liberation from the hated Zionism than Alison. JVP took an unforgivable action and confirmed that it is, in the end, a Zionist gatekeeper always avid to ensure that that Zionist “line” is not crossed. J Street is another. I once supported JVP in principle and financially; that was in my days of naivete. No more….

    Justice, only Justice for Palestine!

  • bozimmerman

    I just don’t understand the whole Isreali settiements in Palestinian lands thing. I mean, literally, I don’t get it, at least the way that’s always described. I mean, i lived in San Macros, and then moved to Austin. Does that mean San Marcos created a settlement in Austinian lands, or was it just some dude making a deal with another dude to buy his house?