Texas Senate passes anti-BDS bill, Gov. expected to sign in May

"Israel Independence Day will be celebrated in the Lone Star State this year with a greater sense of pride than ever."

April 28, 2017 20:31
2 minute read.
BDS Amman

SAY NO to this. A Jordanian policeman stands guard near a protester holding a placard urging to boycott Israeli companies and products, in front of the Prime Minister’s office building in Amman.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Texas Senate passed an anti-boycott Israel bill by a vote of 26-5 on Thursday. The governor of Texas is slated to sign the anti–BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) legislation on Israel’s Independence Day on Tuesday in Austin.

“Rep. Phil King and Sen. Brandon Creighton deserve our respect and deep gratitude for driving this monumental piece of legislation. We are confident other lawmakers in other states will look to their leadership and model their efforts on their legislation,” Charles Kaufman, who chairs B’nai B’rith’s International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy, told The Jerusalem Post. Kaufman, who resides in Austin, testified on behalf of the anti-BDS bill.

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He added: “Israel has a great friend and business partner in the State of Texas. Texas holds more than $50 million in Israel Bonds. It exports $495m. of product to Israel. Military contracts by Israel in Texas totaled $118m. [in 2012]. Texas also is engaged in joint projects with Israel in agricultural research and development, science and technology and industrial research and development. Israel is Texas’s fourth leading trade partner.

“Nearly 300 Texas companies do business with Israel, notably Agar Corporation, CompUSA, Hewlett Packard- Compaq, Fortune Industries, Bell Helicopters, Microdynamics, VTEL Corporation, Motorola and Optibase Advanced Systems. This is a big deal. Research alliances involve numerous public and private scientific activities – the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation and the Binational Science Foundation.”

Kaufman said, “Israel Independence Day will be celebrated in the Lone Star State this year with a greater sense of pride than ever.”

The Dallas office of the American Jewish Committee said that it “applauded final adoption of the Texas anti- BDS bill today in the state legislature. The state senate passed the reconciliation measure following last week’s unanimous House adoption of the bill.”

“The Texas-Israel relationship is essential. In addition to our shared democratic values, Israel is the state’s fourth largest trading partner,” said AJC Dallas director Joel Schwitzer. “We are grateful for the leadership of Representative Phil King and Senator Brandon Creighton in championing this important legislation.”

“With this bill, Texas is expressing strong support for Israel and its supporters in our state, and delivering firm opposition to BDS proponents,” said Randy Czarlinsky, director of AJC Houston.

After the slated signing of the anti-BDS law, the Dallas- based Comerica bank may face a fresh wave of pressure for maintaining a BDS account with the pro-Iran BDS group, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.

“Comerica should close the account,” Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith, told the Post in March.

When asked about the BDS account, Alexandra Alvelo, a spokeswoman for Hudson Executive Capital, a partial owner of Comerica, declined to respond to Post queries.

Efforts to reach Hudson Executive Capital founder Doug Braunstein were not successful.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told the Post in March that Comerica should pull the plug on the IADL account. He said “Facilitating the bank accounts of BDS organizations constitutes support for BDS. Banks maintaining such accounts should carefully consider the danger of running afoul of strict anti- BDS legislation in the US and other countries.”

Wayne Mielke, a spokesman for Comerica, responded to the Post by email in March, saying, “We don’t discuss customer relationships, and want you to know (again) that we have a robust compliance program at the bank.”

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