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A Texas city has required residents who are seeking government disaster relief funds in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to pledge not to boycott Israel. The city of Dickinson, about 30 miles (48km) south of Houston, posted grant applications for anyone seeking money for repairs after the category 4 storm.
Local officials say the pro-Israel clause is required under a Texas state law enacted earlier this year. The application has drawn a strong rebuke from free-speech activists. In the four-page, recovery aid application posted on the city's website, a section reads:
"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."
The provision stems from a law barring the state from entering a contract with any business unless it "does not boycott Israel". Boycotting Israel includes any action intended to "to penalise, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel", according to the law.