The Texas House State Affairs Committee passed on Wednesday a bill banning state contracts and investments in companies that boycott Israel.
The anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment,Sanctions) legislation, which was spearheaded by Republican representative Phil King, passed unanimously 10-0.
Writing on his website prior to passage of the bill, King said: “Texas will not tolerate national-origin discrimination against Israel, which is precisely what BDS is. Efforts to inflict economic harm upon Texas’ trading partners weaken our state’s ability to conduct trade, and harm our vital social interests. BDS is not only Israel’s problem, its Texas’ problem as well.”
He added,” I am hopeful that Texas will join other states around the country in protecting our economy, our taxpayer dollars and our great ally Israel from national origin discrimination.”
Joel Schwitzer, the Regional Director of the American Jewish Committee office in Dallas, welcomed the passage of the bill, saying it is “great news.”
The Texas Senate passed on March 23 a similar bill opposing BDS by a 25-4 vote. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign a finalized anti-BDS law from the legislative chambers.
Abbott wrote in a letter in 2016, “At this critical time, in the face of the virulent movement to promote anti-Israel boycotts both in this country and around the globe, we strongly condemn the BDS movement as incompatible with the values of our states and our country. Likewise, we reaffirm our support for Israel as a vital U.S. ally, important economic partner and champion of freedom.”
The anti-BDS bills will likely draw further scrutiny of the Dallas-based bank Comerica and its role in providing an account to the pro-BDS organization the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL). The IADL aligned itself with Iran’s regime in its criticism of the Jewish state.
A Jerusalem Post press query to Comerica’s spokesman Wayne Mielke was not immediately returned.
Abbott has supported robust state sanctions against Iran. He said in 2016: “Because the Iran Deal is fundamentally flawed and does not permanently dismantle Iran’s nuclear capability, Texas will maintain its sanctions against Iran.”