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The US and Texas State flags fly over the Texas State Capitol in Austin.(Photo by: REUTERS)
Texas House of Representatives unanimously passes anti-BDS bill
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
04/21/2017
The bill passed 131-0.
The Texas House of Representatives on Thursday unanimously passed legislation that bars the state from doing business with companies involved in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting the Jewish state.

Rep. Phil King sponsored the measure, which passed 131-0.

The Texas Senate passed its version of the anti-BDS bill in March. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign a merged version of the legislation in early May.

Joel Schwitzer, the regional director of the American Jewish Committee in Dallas, told The Jerusalem Post, “AJC together with other community leaders worked diligently to ensure that every legislator received multiple contacts about the importance of passing this bill. We’re excited that this brings this legislation one step closer to being the law of the land in Texas, strengthening its relationship with Israel, Texas’ fourth-largest trading partner. We appreciate the leadership of Representative Phil King in authoring the bill. It is gratifying to see our elected officials sending such a clear and principled message that Texas will not do business with those who boycott our friend Israel.”

Sen. Brandon Creighton, the author of the Senate version of the legislation, said Texas should not do business with companies that participate in the BDS movement.

Josh Block, CEO and President of the Israel Project, said, “I want to thank the government of Texas for seeing the true, hateful intentions of BDS and banning such state-sponsored bias.

“The people of the Lone Star State and Israel share an unbreakable bond based upon mutual values, and by passing this legislation – ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not fund discrimination – Texas has reaffirmed this important friendship,” Block said.

Christians United for Israel said in a statement that “CUFI has been working closely with lawmakers in support of the legislation since its conception. These efforts included bringing Texans from across the state to Austin to lobby lawmakers in support of the bill, testifying before both the Senate and House committees to which the legislation was assigned, and distributing an action alert earlier this week letting Texas State representatives know that CUFI’s membership is behind the bill.”

Pastor John Hagee, CUFI’s founder and chairman, said, “Texas is CUFI’s home state and among the most pro-Israel states in the union. The relationship between the Jewish state and the Lone Star State is built upon shared values, including a rock-solid commitment to standing up for liberty – especially when it is threatened by radical Islamic extremism.

“I am very proud that Texas will join with those states that have told the BDS movement that America is unimpressed by efforts to demonize Israel. And I am equally proud of the hard work CUFI members, leaders and staff have done in order to see this and similar legislation advance in state capitols around the country,” Hagee added.

“In addition to the unwavering support of Gov. Abbott, and Lt.- Gov. Dan Patrick, this legislation would not have been possible without the steadfast leadership of the bills’ authors, State Sen. Brandon Creighton and State Rep. Phil King,” CUFI Action Fund chairwoman Sandy Hagee Parker said.

Christians United for Israel, based in San Antonio, has 3.3 million members in the United States.

Daniel S. Mariaschin, the CEO of B’nai B’rith International, told the Post, “We are grateful for the overwhelming support for this measure in the Texas legislature. It remains vitally important for government figures and legislative bodies to join the growing number of people who recognize the abject injustice of the BDS movement.”

Charles Kaufman, who chairs B’nai B’rith’s International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy and is based in Austin, delivered testimony in the legislature in support of the anti-boycott bill. Mariaschin told the Post last month that the Dallas-based bank Comerica should close an account that it maintains for the pro-BDS organization the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. The IADL “excuses the actions of terrorist organizations and denies Israel’s right to defend itself,” Mariaschin said.
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