The extensive destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey has shone a light on a Texas law that prohibits the State from contracting with firms that engage in boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) actions against Israel. But allotting contracts only after requiring the equivalent of a “loyalty oath” from companies wanting to assist storm-beleaguered Texans is eerily reminiscent of McCarthyism. Dave Gahary and Mark Dankof recently discussed the state’s outrageous anti-BDS law—listen in at the link below.
By Dave Gahary
If there are still folks out there who question the allegiance of American politicians, all one need do is look to Dickinson, Texas (population around 19,000), where the city elders demanded that denizens who wished rebuilding funds to rectify Hurricane Harvey’s destruction “certify in writing that they will not take part in a boycott of Israel.”
Hurricane Harvey, the costliest tropical cyclone on record and the second-costliest ($150 billion to $190 billion) natural disaster worldwide, drenched eastern Texas over a four-day period in late August with nearly 65 inches of rain in some areas, which caused catastrophic flooding that destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and necessitated over 17,000 rescues.
To force beaten-down Americans to grovel for emergency funds after a disaster of this magnitude may be par for the bureaucratic course, but to require they pledge an oath of fealty to a foreign country in order to get those funds is beyond the pale.
But Israel, as American Free Press readers are painfully aware, has never been short of chutzpah—the Yiddish “audacity,” used to describe someone or something that has overstepped the boundaries of acceptable behavior.
The city’s “Hurricane Harvey Repair Grant Application and Agreement” required that applicants agree to follow building codes, apply for the necessary permits, use funds solely for their project, and—incredibly—pledge to not boycott Israel.
Section 11 stated: “By executing this agreement below, the applicant verifies that the applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this agreement.”
Yes, folks, that’s really what it stated, not states, because the outrage this requirement generated forced Dickinson to reconsider its demand. This “strange stipulation” even had the fake news media raising their collective eyebrows, with a staunchly Zionist Time magazine headline blaring, “A Texas City Will Only Give You Hurricane Aid If You Promise Not to Boycott Israel.”
Most likely, Dickinson finally cried “uncle” when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) weighed in. ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura stated:
The First Amendment protects Americans’ right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression. Dickinson’s requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of “subversive” activity.
The ACLU pointed out in a news story Oct. 19 that the Supreme Court “ruled decades ago that political boycotts are protected by the First Amendment, and other decisions have established that the government may not require individuals to sign a certification regarding their political expression in order to obtain employment, contracts, or other benefits.”
The news story also mentions the ACLU “filed a federal lawsuit challenging a Kansas law on behalf of a high school math teacher who is being required by the state to certify that she won’t boycott Israel if she wants to take part in a teacher training program,” and that the organization had “sent a letter to members of Congress opposing a bill that would make it a felony to support certain boycotts of companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Dickinson claimed the city was just following the law in Texas, referring to H.B. 89, which was passed by the Texas House on April 20 (voting 131 to 0 with 12 present, not voting) and the Texas Senate on April 27 (voting 27 to 4), and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 2. This act took effect on Sept. 1. Significantly, the law is aimed at companies, using the language, “Prohibition on Contracts with Companies Boycotting Israel”; Dickinson’s demand that individuals follow the law was fraught with trouble.
Abbott—like many U.S. politicians who want to keep the Israel lobby’s spigot aimed at their campaign coffers—groveled to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in January 2016, openly stating that he wanted Texas legislators to pass such a ban.
He got his wish, and crowed “any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy” when he signed the clearly unconstitutional bill into law. Shamelessly kissing Israel’s backside even further, he posted on his official website, “Anti-Israel policies are anti- Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally.”
Yes, this is all true, dear reader. Whoever can kiss Israel’s butt the best wins a prize! If it wasn’t so un-American it might be funny. But it’s not, as it’s a threat to our God-given freedoms. What’s worse is that this law is similar to existing laws in at least 22 other states, leaving only 27 states to go. The United States of Israel, anyone?
What’s behind the nationwide push to protect “our greatest ally” is the success of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), created in 2005 “to increase economic and political pressure on Israel to end what it describes as violations of international law.” BDS seeks “the end of Israel’s occupation and settler colonization of Palestinian land and the Golan Heights, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and acknowledgement of the right of return of Palestinian refugees.”
AFP asked Mark Dankof, a Texas resident and U.S. Senate candidate, for his views on H.B. 89. [Listen to the full interview with Dankof at the podcast link above.]
“Here in Texas, sadly enough,” Dankof told AFP, “what we refer to as the ‘conservative movement’ is, in many cases, nothing of the type. If you look at the Republican Party state platform of Texas, it’s solidly Zionist, it’s solidly globalist and interventionist, and it’s something that could have been easily penned by Netanyahu himself.
“The notion that any state government, much less the federal government,” he concluded, “should be able to say to any legitimately incorporated business in the United States that they have to sign off, officially, in support of Mr. Netanyahu’s policies—many of which the United States government says are a violation of international law—[is ludicrous].”
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, prevailed in a suit brought by the New York Stock Exchange in an attempt to silence him. Dave is the producer of an upcoming full-length feature film about the attack on the USS Liberty. See erasingtheliberty.com for more information and to get the new book on which the movie will be based, Erasing the Liberty.