Texas city forces hurricane victims to vow not to boycott Israel to receive aid

Published 20.10.2017 19:22
Updated 20.10.2017 19:23
emAP Photo/em
AP Photo

A Texas city devastated by the catastrophic Hurricane Harvey will only provide relief funds to residents who pledge not to boycott Israel.

The city of Dickinson shared a 'Hurricane Harvey Repair Grant Application and Agreement' on its website this week. According to the authorities, individuals and businesses can apply for grants from money donated for hurricane aid.

The application form includes a clause titled 'Verification not to boycott Israel,' which requires to verify that "the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) slammed the authorities for including a condition that violates free speech rights.

"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.

The ACLU statement also said the application form was "unconstitutional."

The city attorney defended the clause, saying it followed a recently passed state law that requires all state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel.

Texas governor Greg Abbott signed the bill in May, hailing Israel as number one trading partner in the U.S.

Hurricane Harvey tore through Texas in August, causing catastrophic levels of flooding and destruction.

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