Under pressure, Houston town untethers hurricane relief from BDS test

State and local efforts to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement have spread rapidly across the United States.

October 28, 2017 02:23
Under pressure, Houston town untethers hurricane relief from BDS test

A police officer wades through the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Alvin, Texas August 29, 2017. . (photo credit: RICK WILKING / REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – A suburb of Houston has backtracked from its plan to require residents seeking aid to rebuild their homes and businesses from Hurricane Harvey vow not to boycott the State of Israel.

The proposal was originally written into the town of Dickinson’s Hurricane Harvey repair grant application and agreement contract. The 11th listed provision of that document required “verification not to boycott Israel,” referring to a state law barring local government funding of those blackballing the Jewish state.

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The city council voted down the provision, in the face of pressure from civil liberties and Jewish groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League.

“Disaster relief funds should not be conditioned on political beliefs,” the ADL said in a statement following the city’s decision. A Tuesday letter from ADL to the town expressed “concern” over the provision, and requested its removal from the Texas relief application.

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