New Beginnings working against BDS, supporting House bill
By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP
Texas is going to stand with Israel, and it’s going to make a statement in legislation.
That was the theme at a pro-Israel rally held at New Beginnings Church on Feb. 1.
The service, which was also streamed live on the Internet, worked to raise awareness and support for House Bill 89 and Senate Bill 134.
The companion bills would prohibit the state of Texas from doing business with, or investing in, companies engaging in a commercial boycott of Israel.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is a global campaign attempting to increase political and economic pressure on Israel through boycotts, divestment of investments and international sanctions. While it isn’t officially stated by BDS, one of the target goals is delegitimizing the State of Israel.
“No one says they’re anti-Semites anymore, instead they are anti-Israel,” Pastor Larry Huch said. “We’re here to stand with Israel and show our support.”
A handful of speakers addressed the bill and drummed up support Wednesday, including Daniel Agranov, who is the consul of the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest United States.
”We feel a strong bond between Texas and Israel,” Agranov told the crowd. “Because of you, our democratic post in the homeland thrives. You can relay to your fellow Americans what the connection between America and Israel is all about. Don’t tell my bosses at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but you are the actual ambassadors of Israel.”
State Representative Phil King, who is sponsoring the House bill, was unable to attend the rally due to commitments in Austin. But he did address the crowd in a prerecorded video about the economic impact the bill would have in support of Israel.
“We invest about $250 billion each year in various securities with our pension plan and university foundation funds, and things of that nature,” King said in the video. “For us to take that out of the marketplace — it is a significant statement and significant event (in support of Israel).”
Fourteen other states have passed similar legislation. In South Carolina and Illinois it was a nonpartisan legislation and passed unanimously, which is a strong foundation to work with, King has said.
While it’s looked at as a bipartisan issue, a groundswell of support will go a long way for the bills. Supporters are encouraged to write, email, and fax their representatives about the bills; there will be two events in Austin to show support for the bills.
On Feb. 9 there will be a rally, and Feb. 22 will be Jewish Communities Day at the State. Each date is expected to be well attended by members of the Metroplex Jewish community.
“This isn’t a religious bill or effort, this is a human effort,” Daniel Williams, the executive director of the Israel Allies Foundation, said. “This is something that everyone can support and get behind. That’s why we’re all here, and we expect this to pass with great success from both sides of the aisle.”
Bnai Zion attends New Beginnings event
Diane Benjamin, president of the Texas Region Bnai Zion Foundation; Cheryl Bier, national secretary and executive vice president of the Bnai Zion Foundation; and Texas Region Bnai Zion Board Members Rivae Balkin-Kliman, Dr. Kathi Silver, Barry Wernick, Yoram Wolanow and Carole Wolanow joined DFW New Beginnings Church for its Standing with Israel event Feb. 1. The evening, hosted by past Bnai Zion honorees and strong Christian Zionists, Pastors Larry and Tiz Huch, was part of an international effort to biblically and politically defend Israel against those who are promoting anti-Israel policies.
Diane Benjamin stated, “ The Bnai Zion Foundation encourages, through its programs in Israel and globally, to help educate, support and motivate Christians and Jews to honor the land and people of Israel and share in this and other humanitarian and lifesaving crucial efforts.”