Austin, TX (May 30, 2017) – The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Austin Chapter is deeply grateful to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Straus, Senator Brandon Creighton and Representatives Craig Goldman and Phil King for their leadership and support of the Anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) bill passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities during the recently completed legislative session.
The new law, which goes into effect later this year, places Texas in the forefront of combating anti-Israel and anti-Semitic efforts designed to delegitimize one of America’s strongest allies and a major Texas trading partner.
The bill does not prevent individuals or businesses from advocating or initiating BDS efforts against the Jewish state. Signed by the Governor in front of a large crowd at the Austin JCC on the Dell Jewish Community Campus on Israel Independence Day, the new law prohibits the state of Texas from contracting with or investing in businesses or other entities engaged in BDS against Israel. “Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies,” Governor Abbott declared, “and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally. As Israel’s number one trading partner in the United States, Texas is proud to reaffirm its support for the people of Israel and…build on our historic partnership.”
Although the bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Texas House and Senate, the RJC Austin Chapter is deeply disappointed in the lack of support from Austin-area Democrats. Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin) was one of only five Senators to vote against the bill. He did so on all three readings. In addition, four representatives, Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin), Donna Howard (D-Austin), Celia Israel (D-Austin) and Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), were present in the House Chamber during the vote and choose to abstain.
“Unfortunately, Austin reflects the growing trend of Democrats to distance themselves from the only democracy in the Middle East as well as one of the most diverse democracies in the world,” declared Alan Sager, former chairman of the Travis County Republican Party and a longtime member of the RJC Board of Directors.
“Clearly, the Jewish community in Central Texas has much work to do.”