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Texas Governor Praises Bank’s Decision To Close Pro-BDS Group’s Account

Texas Governor Greg Abbott praised a decision by one of America’s largest banks to close the account of an organization that supports the boycott of Israel, in a move that Abbott tied to the state’s new law banning government business with Israel-boycotters.

The Jerusalem Post reported last week that the Dallas-based firm Comerica Bank would soon terminate the account of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), a left-wing nonprofit that supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The story emerged only days after Abbott signed a law banning state entities from contracting with businesses that support BDS.

The bank itself did not explicitly say that the account closure was tied to concerns about the law and their possible continued access to Texas state business.

“The account closing, the result of a business decision, will occur in due course. We will have no further comment on this matter,“ bank spokesman Wayne Mielke told the Post. Mielke did not expand on his explanation when asked for comment by the Forward. The IADL also did not respond to a Forward inquiry as to whether they believed the closure of their account was connected to the new law.

But Abbott himself seemed to see the connection, sending a tweet on Tuesday night with a link to an article about the account closure and the message, “Results already from the anti-BDS law I signed last week. Texas is friends with Israel.”

A Jewish group also praised the BDS law’s work. “In penalizing the IADL, Comerica has demonstrated that it is committed to helping the state of Texas enforce its strict anti-BDS laws, and that it will have zero tolerance for any person or organization that seeks to undermine democracy or promote terror,” World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder said in a Friday statement praising the decision.

Some European banks have shut down pro-BDS groups’ accounts because they ran afoul of anti-racism regulations, but this is believed to be the first time that an American bank has closed an account in response to anti-BDS laws. Such laws have been passed in 18 states.

Contact Aiden Pink at pink@forward.com or on Twitter at @aidenpink.

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Texas Governor Praises Bank’s Decision To Close Pro-BDS Group’s Account

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