Texas has passed a bill that bans all state enterprises from engaging with companies that boycott Israel.
In a 131-0 decision, the Texas House of Representative passed the bill targeting companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Texas is now the 18th state to pass such measures that single out the Jewish state. The move won praise from Jewish and Christian communities.
“The relationship between the Jewish State and the Lone Star State is built upon shared values, including a rock-solid commitment to standing up for liberty – especially when it is threatened by radical Islamic extremism,” said Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel.
Texas is Israel’s 4th largest trading partner. In the past 13 years alone, Israel has received more than $20 billion worth of Texas exports, making the Lone Star State an important trading partner.
“I am very proud that Texas will join with those states that have told the BDS movement that America is unimpressed by efforts to demonize Israel,” Hagee added. “And I am equally proud of the hard work CUFI members, leaders and staff have done in order to see this and similar legislation advance in state capitols around the country.”
Joel Schwitzer with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) echoed similar sentiments.
“AJC together with other community leaders worked diligently to ensure that every legislator received multiple contacts about the importance of passing this bill,” Schwitzer told the Jerusalem Post. “We’re excited that this brings this legislation one step closer to being law of the land in Texas, strengthening its relationship with Israel, Texas’ 4th largest trading partner.”
The bill’s co-author, Representative Phi King, said it was in his state’s vital interest to protect the bond with Israel and send a strong message to those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish nation through economic warfare.
“The BDS campaign has been revealed to be – largely driven by anti-Jewish bigotry, and the individual states do not want to be complicit in a movement that seeks to discriminate against Israelis and harm the states’ economies,” King told the group StandWithUs. “The states are making it clear that they will not tolerate national-origin discrimination against Israel, which is precisely what BDS is.”
The state’s Senate passed a similar bill in March. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign a reconciled version of both bills next month.