It’s good that the Dickinson City Council removed the Israel test as a requirement for hurricane relief.

Even if you believe fervently that Israel is a bastion of democracy in a part of the world where democracy is endangered, you should have doubts about the wisdom of requiring some kind of loyalty or ideology test as a condition for receiving help after a natural disaster.

In its early days, America was full of such tests. In the colonial era, there were tests that involved religious beliefs. If you were a Catholic in some places, you might not be able to vote. If you were a Puritan in others, you might have the same problem.

Gradually, Americans began to grasp the idea that rights — including the right to equal treatment under the law — shouldn’t depend on your political or religious views. We Americans are, and always have been, divided. We have disagreed and still disagree about important things.

But our fervently held beliefs — about the standing of Israel as an ally, about abortion, about religion doctrines, about protests during the national anthem — shouldn’t disqualify any of us from the same treatment under the law.

Are there really that many people out there who think a person’s views on any of those topics should disqualify that person from receiving help after a hurricane?

Initially, the Dickinson council thought that a state law attempting to suppress political dissent against the current administration in Israel applied to the city’s disaster recovery program. (The prime minister has far less support in Israel than he and his government apparently have in the Texas House of Representatives.)

Homeowners would have been required to “verify” that they would not boycott Israel as a condition of seeking aid.

There are many things wrong with that kind of thinking, but let’s take one obvious problem: How would you verify compliance?

Some households boycott big box stores that have been accused of wiping out mom-and-pop stores. Other households won’t do business at stores owned by people who have political views that are different from theirs. Companies associated with owners who have taken stands on abortion and gay marriage have been targets for years. Some Daily News readers offended by the protests during the national anthem have urged a boycott of the NFL.

If the political party with a majority in the Texas Legislature starts making disaster aid contingent on any of those positions, where will it end? Will we all have to “verify” that our beliefs are in line with those of the ruling class in Austin?

It’s hard to think of any idea that is more anti-American.

This road leads to folly, and the Dickinson council was wise to back up and start over.

The only real question about this embarrassing story is how a bad idea got to be law. According to state records, the measure passed the Texas House unanimously. You’d think that we would have, perhaps by accident, elected one brave soul who would have had second thoughts.

• Heber Taylor

(12) comments

Carlos Ponce

The law pertains to companies doing business with state entities. The author of the bill verified to the City of Dickinson that it did not apply to individuals requesting hurricane relief, only businesses doing business with state entities. The law has been enacted in 22 states in this country as diverse as California and Texas. It's a good law.
Israel is an important trading partner for the state of Texas. Proponents of the BDS boycott of Israel and Israeli products are supporters of those who want the removal of Israel and the death of every Jew in the world. They're not nice people. Those affected by the BDS boycott include Israeli Jews, Muslims, Christians and sectarians.
As you point out the anti-BDS law was voted unanimously by the Texas House and by a 25-6 margin in the Texas Senate, signed by Governor Abbott. The votes were bi-partisan.
In addition to being an important trading partner for the state of Texas Israel is an strong friend and ally of this country. Other countries enacting anti-BDS legislation include Canada and France (the Lellouche law). The student parliament at the Goethe University in Frankfurt Germany on Thursday condemned the BDS campaign for duplicating the Nazi-era movement’s boycotts of Jewish-owned businesses. The university’s student enrollment is roughly 46,000. (http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Major-German-university-students-BDS-a-continuation-of-Nazi-boycotts-501624)
No law is going to stop the hatred. But the law prevents those companies from dealing with the State of Texas and state entities.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [ Proponents of the BDS boycott of Israel and Israeli products are supporters of those who want the removal of Israel and the death of every Jew in the world.]

Are you saying all or most supporters of BDS want that? Got a link? Where did you get this information?

Carlos Ponce

Little Marky, just look at the leadership behind the BDS movement. but in their absurdity their anti-Semitism is hurting others who live and work in Israel including Muslims and Christians.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [ Proponents of the BDS boycott of Israel and Israeli products are supporters of those who want the removal of Israel and the death of every Jew in the world.]

"Are you saying all or most supporters of BDS want that? Got a link? Where did you get this information?"

Carlos: [Little Marky, just look at the leadership behind the BDS movement. but in their absurdity their anti-Semitism is hurting others who live and work in Israel including Muslims and Christians.]

You didn't answer the questions. Do all or most of the BDS movement people really want "the removal of Israel and the death of every Jew in the world?" Where are you getting the information to support your claim? Or are you just making it all up? Facts, Carlos, facts.

Carlos Ponce

Speaking against the anti-BDS HB 89 in Legislative hearings was Katherine Pace, Austin Jewish Voice for Peace.
The Jewish Voice for Peace group-"JVP has come under criticism from other Jewish groups that have branded the movement not only as anti-Semitic but also traitorous." "The Anti-Defamation League criticized JVP for what it described as 'anti-Israel radicalism' and 'questionable tactics' to promote its agenda, describing a 2017 video campaign as 'veering dangerously close to repeating anti-Semitic slurs'."
JVP is funded partially through the Tides Foundation, a George Soros funded group.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Voice_for_Peace#cite_note-Magid-29

Charles Tucker

Carlos Ponce has correctly pointed out that the state law was misapplied in Dickinson. He is also correct in pointing out that BDS is not just a protest against a political party/leader/policy. BDS is pure hatred of Jews. Having a law which forbids state agencies from doing business with proponents of genocide should be self-evident.

Mark Aaron

Charles: [ BDS is pure hatred of Jews. Having a law which forbids state agencies from doing business with proponents of genocide should be self-evident. ]

Where are you getting your information asserting the BDS supports genocide. Do you have a link to a credible source making that claim?

Diane Turski

And once again TX legislators try to strong arm the citizens of TX with their own version of government overreach!! Vote them out!!

Carlos Ponce

So Diane is all for people who hate the Israelis.
Figures.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [So Diane is all for people who hate the Israelis. Figures.]

Are you claiming there are only two choices that can be made Carlos? You know, like a false dichotomy?

PD Hyatt

How quickly people come out to condemn the law about Israel and say that it should not be part of a litmus test to get aid, and yet these are the same people who moan and groan when someone is going to be put up for a SCOTUS seat and they do not believe in the belief that abortion (slaughtering of the unborn and innocent) is a right. When they believe that they are prosecuted from the left with a vengeance. And many refuse to allow them a chance to sit on the High Court.

PD Hyatt

What is the difference?

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