To Get Hurricane Aid, Dickinson, TX Residents Must Swear They Won’t Boycott Israel

ACLU Lawyer: Unconscionable to Impose 'Political Litmus Tests' on Disaster Relief

The city of Dickinson, Texas is accepting applications for aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey, but is raising eyebrows with the text of their application form, which compels all applicants to swear they are not boycotting Israel, and will not boycott Israel for the duration of the aid deal.

It’s not clear why this is the case. The State of Texas did pass a law forbidding the state from employing contractors who boycott Israel, but the city’s form makes no indication that this is an extension of this law. Indeed, the form mentions the funds provided coming from “various individuals, businesses, and other organizations” to help recover from the hurricane.

The ACLU is filing suit, arguing this is unconstitutional, and adding that it is “absolutely unconscionable for state and local governments to impose political litmus tests of disaster relief funds.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott was an outspoken proponent of the anti-BDS law, declaring that “any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy.” Multiple US states have anti-BDS laws, but this appears to be the first time anyone has tried to use it to withhold aid.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.