Texas is the 18th and most recent state to introduce a bill against boycotting Israel, marking the latest step in the fight against BDS on the US state level.
Texas on Thursday passed a bipartisan bill aimed at combating the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, becoming the 18 US state to support such a law.
House Bill (HB 89), which passed unanimously with a 131-0 vote, prohibits state investment in companies that engage in a political boycott of Israel and requires all entities contracting with the state to certify that they don’t participate in such efforts.
The bill moved successfully through the Texas Senate in a March vote.
Texas and Israel have a long history of working together as valuable partners in the areas of agriculture, medicine, technology, defense, water management, cyber-intelligence and many other areas, and Texas-Israel trade now exceeds half a billion dollars per year with numerous trade missions, signed compacts and mutual development projects.
The house bill was spearheaded by Rep. Phil King, who offered multiple reasons for the bill.
“First, as a Christian, my religious heritage is intrinsically linked to Israel and to the Jewish people,” he stated. “Second, as an American, our national security is dependent in great part on a strong Israel, often our only friend in the Middle East. Third, as a Texas legislator, our state has a substantial Jewish population and this issue is important to them. Texans have historical ties and do a lot of business with Israel. Fourth, it’s just the right thing to do.”
“The BDS campaign has been revealed to be – largely driven by anti-Jewish bigotry, and the individual states do not want to be complicit in a movement that seeks to discriminate against Israelis and harm the states’ economies. The states are making it clear that they will not tolerate national-origin discrimination against Israel, which is precisely what BDS is,” King stated.
“I filed this important legislation to show the rest of the country and the world that Israel is a key ally who has earned the support of the Lone Star State,” said State Senator Brandon Creighton, who filed the Senate legislation.
The bill will now go back to the Senate for reconciliation and then to the desk of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has already indicated his support for the legislation.
National Anti-BDS Tidal Wave
Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Michigan have passed bills fighting boycotts on Israel.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed an executive order banning state agencies from investing in companies that support boycotts on Israel.
More than 20 states are considering, or have passed, legislation targeting companies that comply with the anti-Israel BDS movement, and many countries around the world have introduced and passed similar laws.
The BDS movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts against Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent struggle against the so-called “Israeli occupation.” Critics say its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism and that its true objective is to destroy the State of Israel.
By: United with Israel Staff