Texas Lawmaker Backpedals From Anti-BDS Hurricane Aid Snafu
(JTA) — A Texas state representative blamed “confusion” for a Houston suburb’s decisio to demand its residents certify to receive hurricane relief.
Republican State Rep. Phil King authored state legislation against BDS, or boycotts of Israel, earlier this year. The legislation went into effect last month.
“This bill in no way applies to the type of situation that happened in Dickinson,” King, who has been a state legislator since 1999, told the Israeli daily Haaretz in an interview on Saturday night.
The website for the town of Dickinson is accepting applications for individuals and businesses who need assistance following Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the area in August. According to the application, those who sign must verify that the applicant “(1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.”
King told Haaretz that the situation in Dickinson does not apply to the law, because “they had private contributions from citizens to a relief fund in the city, and the city has set up a grant program to give those funds to help in disaster clean-up and restoration. Those are not taxpayer dollars, so the law by no means applies to these relief efforts.”
King told the newspaper that the state “needs to take steps to clarify things, so that something like this doesn’t happen again.”