The waters that Hurricane Harvey brought with it end of August damaged a multitude of homes in the Texas city of Dickinson, so now residents are applying for help to repair their properties.
As with all public administration forms, filling out these documents is mostly tedious and repetitive. But in the case of Dickinson’s application for repair grants, it is mostly eyebrow-raising, as the city application reads: "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."
By using this wording, the city of Dickinson makes it appear that obtaining relief funds is dependent on their citizen's sympathy for the Jewish state.
Bryan Milward, a city official of Dickinson stated: "The city has nothing to do with it.” According to them, Dickinson is simply following House Bill 89, which came into force on September 1, 2016. "In this application form, people state what damage they had from the storm and what the funds they receive would be used for. This application functions as a contract, which means we have to include this clause based on state law."
Republican Representative of Texas, Mr. Phil King, who authored the legislation, said he was dumbfounded to see what had happened: "We're eating this morning, having my oatmeal, and I see the article in the paper. And it's like, 'Oh no, what could they possibly be thinking?’ “
According to Texas Governor Mr. Greg Abbott, who signed the bill into law in May, it was aimed at targeting companies that are involved in boycotting, divesting or sanctioning Israel, also known as BDS: "As Israel's number one trading partner in the United States, Texas is proud to reaffirm its support for the people of Israel and we will continue to build on our historic partnership. Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally."
Dickinson numbers some 20,000 residents and was very hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. Half its citizens were affected and three people died.