Hurricane relief program removes ‘no Israel boycott’ pledge
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Hurricane relief program removes ‘no Israel boycott’ pledge

While Dickinson, Texas, homeowners are now exempt, businesses in Houston suburb must continue to adhere to requirement

Rescue workers and volunteers helping residents make their way out of a flooded neighborhood in Houston following Hurricane Harvey, August 29, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Rescue workers and volunteers helping residents make their way out of a flooded neighborhood in Houston following Hurricane Harvey, August 29, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

DICKINSON, Texas — A Houston suburb removed a requirement from a hurricane repair grant program that homeowners must agree to not boycott Israel as a condition of receiving money.

The Galveston County Daily News reported that the Dickinson City Council on Tuesday voted to remove the requirement from the application of the city’s Hurricane Harvey repair grant program.

Dickinson had initially included the boycott requirement to comply with a new state law that prohibits Texas agencies from contracting with companies that boycott Israel.

City management assistant Bryan Milward said businesses in Dickinson will still have to refrain from boycotting Israel in order to get relief funding, because the city interpreted that as a requirement of the new state law.

The American Civil Liberties Union had called the boycott requirement unconstitutional and said it was considering legal action against the city of Dickinson.

The boycott language was included to comply with a new state law prohibiting Texas agencies from contracting with companies boycotting Israel, said David Olson, the city attorney in Dickinson, located about 30 miles southeast of Houston.

The law, which took effect September 1, prohibits all state agencies from contracting with, and some public funds from investing in, companies that boycott Israel.

Twenty-one states, including Texas, have passed laws that prohibit them from entering into contracts with individuals or companies participating in a boycott of Israel. Earlier this month, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit in Kansas on behalf of a teacher challenging that state’s boycott law.

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