ACLU Slams Houston Suburb for Withholding Hurricane Relief to Anyone Boycotting Israel

Randolph Lopez
October 23, 2017

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, one of the most devastating tropical storms in the history of the United States, the city of Dickinson, Texas has posted grant applications on its website that would allow applicants access to financial aid from the Dickinson Harvey Relief fund.

The city of Dickinson, located southeast of Houston, recently posted to its website an application for hurricane fix grants from donations made toward rebuilding efforts. Applicants must agree to use distributed funds exclusively for their agreed upon project, which could including rebuilding a home or business.

"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", ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura said in a statement.

Critics, including the ACLU, are condemning not only the city's requirement but also Texas's anti-protest law-and similiar measures enacted across the US and under consideration in Congress-as violations of constitutional free speech rights.

The geopolitical ideology requirement for a Texas suburb rebuilding grant caught the attention of the ACLU, which said it violated the First Amendment.

In Kansas, ACLU is taking the state to court over a contract a teacher had to sign to be eligible for a state-funded program to help other teachers. Other cities are also enforcing the law.

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Texan law prohibits the state from entering into contracts with a business unless it "does not boycott Israel; and will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract", and local council are using this law with individuals following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

If you're a resident of a small Texas city and in need of hurricane recovery funds, you'll have to certify that you're not boycotting Israel.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott was an outspoken proponent of the anti-BDS law, declaring that "any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy".

"The city in no way advocates on behalf of the underlying political issue, but we're doing everything in our power to follow state law", he said.

Supporters of laws aimed at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement argue that refusing to do business with a country is not protected speech, and that longstanding laws forbidding "support" for foreign state boycotts of Israel apply to the business transaction, not the political motivations.

Bustle's request for comment was not returned by Texas Gov. Abbott.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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