Dickinson Demands People Seeking Harvey Relief Promise Not To Boycott Israel

Boycott Israel & you won’t get aid donations Hurricane Harvey victims told

Boycott Israel & you won’t get aid donations Hurricane Harvey victims told

The city of Dickinson, Texas released on Monday a new application for relief funds to rebuild homes and businesses.

The city of Dickinson, Tx. posted an application form to its website for relief money collected from donations to the Dickinson Harvey Relief fund about two months after Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coastline.

The city began accepting applications October 11 for grants to rebuild homes or businesses damaged in the storm that made landfall August 25. The recovery fund, financed primarily by the municipality, is accessible only to applicants who verify that they "will not boycott Israel during the term of this [accord]".

Andre Segura, legal director for ACLU of Texas, blasted the grant aid condition as a violation of free speech and said the government can not hinge relief funds on a promise to "refrain from protected" political speech.

Colloquially known as the anti-BDS bill, the law states that no Texas state agency can contract a business that boycotts Israel. But clause 11 of the document mandates that applicants clearly state their political persuasion regarding Israel, an "egregious violation" of the First Amendment, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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"Dickinson's requirement of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of "subversive" activity", Segura said in a statement. Milward emphasised that the city will not be verifying compliance with the clause and said he doesn't expect any applications to be rejected because of it.

Dickinson city attorney David W. Olson confirmed to ABC 13 the unusual stipulation was required per Texas legislation enacted earlier this year that prohibits all state agencies from entering into contracts or investing funds with those who boycott Israel.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott was an outspoken proponent of the anti-BDS law, declaring that "any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy".

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". He noted the ACLU was now involved in a lawsuit challenging a Kansas law that went into effect July 1 and requires any individual or company seeking a contract with the state provide written verification they're not engaged in a boycott against Israel. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously supported the boycotters.

Texas is not the only state to make the government's compassion towards hurricane victims contingent upon their political beliefs.

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