For Harvey Relief Funds, Residents in Texas Town Must Vow Not to Boycott Israel

In order to get Hurricane Harvey relief funds, Dickinson, Texas, residents have been asked to agree to not boycott Israel, The Dallas Morning News reports. The storm, which made landfall Aug. 25, did catastrophic damage along the Gulf Coast and hit Dickinson especially hard. The city started accepting applications last week for money to rebuild homes and businesses from the Dickinson Harvey Relief Fund. A clause in the application states: “By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.” Despite claims from the city that it is following the law, ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura says the requirement is clearly unconstitutional and “an egregious violation of the First Amendment.” She added, “The First Amendment protects Americans’ right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression.”