On Thursday, February 9th, 2017, a unique event occurred with profound spiritual implications. At the State Capitol building in Austin, Texas, an event called “The Texas Stand with Israel/Citizens Advocacy Day” was held. The event was organized by Texas State Representative Phil King (R) from Weatherford, Texas. This event was the first ever of its kind to be held in Texas.
The purpose for this historic gathering was to garner support for a new bill being introduced in the Texas State Legislature. The bill, House Bill 89, and its companion Bill in the Texas State Senate, SB 134, were designed to defeat the economic warfare being waged against Israel through a movement called BDS, which means Boycott, Divest and Sanction.
Israel’s enemies devised this new form of unconventional warfare in their never-ending desire to find new ways to combat Israel’s very existence. In fact, Pro-BDS author John Spritzler says, “I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist.”
The co-founder of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, said, “We oppose a Jewish State in any part of Palestine.” The heart of the BDS movement is to wage warfare on Israel and her right to exist in her ancient homeland!
The BDS movement has gained steam and notoriety around the world with numerous universities, governments, labor unions and businesses now participating. In fact, even some Christian denominations have come onboard with the BDS movement!
TEXAS WAGES WAR AGAINST BDS
This is where HB 89 & SB 134 come in. Texas Representative King and Senator Brandon Creighton (R) saw this new form of warfare being waged on the economy of Israel and felt that something had to be done!
Contained in these bills is a legally binding commitment by the State of Texas to prohibit the State from investing public funds in any group that wages economic warfare on Israel. What does this mean? Texas, now the 10th largest economy in the world, with a $1.6 trillion dollar a year GDP, will use its growing economic might to STAND WITH ISRAEL!
Texas is now Israel’s 4th largest trading partner, conducting over half a billion dollars in bi-lateral trade annually. Since 1996 Texas has done over $13 billion in trade with the State of Israel. In fact, nearly 300 companies in the state of Texas do business with Israel.
10-YEAR DROUGHT BREAKS
In May of 2015 Texas representatives came together and began planning these bills to Stand with Israel. In that same month, heavy rainfalls began to fall on the State of Texas. Over the ensuing months, 17 trillion gallons of rain came down on the State of Texas—thus ending a 10-year devastating drought!
Of course, some may say this is mere coincidence. I say it is God keeping His promises! Genesis 12:3 states, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed!”
Texas has not only enjoyed record-breaking rainfall but Texas’ oil boom produced one half of all job growth in the US since 2009 and added over $600 billion to the overall US economy. In its growing relationship with Israel, Texas A&M University announced in late December 2015 its plans to bless Israel by opening a $6 million marine research center in partnership with the University of Haifa.
MUSLIMS FIGHT PENDING BILL
All of this support for Israel has not gone without opposition. One week before our group of 500 supporters converged on the State Capitol, over 1,000 Muslims came to the Capitol in Austin and campaigned one-on-one with all of the State Legislators, urging them vigorously to vote against HB 89 & SB 134. They pressed the Texas legislators to not stand with Israel.
Although they went before us, we came with humility and the strength of God’s mighty Word! We represented Israel and God got the last word in this battle.
Over 500 advocates for Israel came to this event from both the Christian and mainstream Jewish communities! Maoz was the only representative from the Messianic community at this event.
In fact, the bill sailed through both chambers and its author Representative King called this law the “strongest that any state has passed” and “a model for other states to follow.”
BILL SIGNED INTO LAW!
On May 2, 2017, Israel’s 69th Birthday, at a festive gathering of officials and Jewish and Christian leaders, Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law!
“Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy,” said Abbott. “Texas is not going to do business with any country that boycotts Israel.” The law mandates that companies that contract with Texas government entities must verify they do not and will not boycott Israel. It is likely the toughest anti-BDS law in the world.
Groups that do business with the State of Texas, that have joined in on the economic warfare against Israel, stand to lose untold millions in revenue.
Abbott thanked House and Senate leadership noting, “I have never seen a bill so many people came together to get behind.” Signing the anti-BDS bill as the very first piece of legislation of the state’s 85th Legislature sends a powerful message. Abbott expressed his unwavering support tweeting “Texas says, Don’t Mess With Israel. Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies.”
He added, “The people of the Lone Star State and Israel share an unbreakable bond based upon mutual values, and by passing this legislation—ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not fund discrimination—Texas has reaffirmed this important friendship.”
“People in Israel are just like Texans,” said Abbott who spoke on the “cultural connection between the people of Texas and the people of Israel,” calling that connection “very deep and very genuine.”
Texas is the 18th state to pass an anti-BDS law.
For me, it was so encouraging to speak directly with many State Legislators and to hear first-hand their deep commitment to STAND WITH ISRAEL.
Ted Vanlandeghem is U.S. Spokesman and Director of Partner Relations at Maoz Israel Ministries.
This article originally appeared on Maoz Israel, July 2017, and reposted with permission.