Emergency Meeting to Combat Growing Antisemitism, Support Israel

November 2, 2023

During a time of rising hostility toward Jewish citizens here in Texas and across the nation, I was invited on Monday to address an important emergency meeting of the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission (THGAAC). In 2021, I was very honored to author HB 3257 which established this commission. The bill had broad support in the House and Senate.  

Back in 2021, little did we know that Israel would be invaded and that a dangerous hostility toward Jews would be on the rise, in of all places, Texas. During the Commission meeting, we discussed the unprecedented escalation of antisemitic incidents on high school and college campuses and across the public square. Though no state has passed more legislation in support of Israel than Texas, I asked for input and ideas on how we can address this growing problem. We will continue the conversation to ensure the safety of the Jewish community. Violence against our Jewish friends and neighbors will simply not be tolerated.  

I have often stated that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East and is America’s best partner in that hostile and unstable region. Israel is a leading trading partner with Texas and many Texans have both religious and personal ties to the nation. Being a faithful partner to Israel is always in Texas’ best interest.

On October 9th, we began a Special Session of the Legislature. The Senate’s very first item of business was to pass SR 2, which I had the privilege of presenting, expressing Texas’ solidarity with and support for the people of Israel. This resolution underscored Israel’s absolute right to defend against the brutal attacks by the Iranian sponsored terrorist group Hamas. The resolution, which passed unanimously, condemned antisemitism and directed law enforcement to be especially watchful for increased anti-Semitic and terroristic activity in Texas. Almost simultaneously, my colleague, Rep. Craig Goldman, introduced the same resolution in the Texas House, where it was also passed unanimously.

Just yesterday this resolution was adopted as the national model by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism. ALEC encouraged other state legislatures to adopt similar resolutions which condemn Hamas’ attack on Israel and supports Israel’s right to eliminate Hamas.

Throughout my service in the Legislature, I have worked to strengthen the Texas/Israel relationship. It’s been a privilege to organize three trips to Israel with legislators from here in Texas and around the nation. One such visit was in conjunction with the delivery of the first F-35 advanced combat stealth fighters, produced in Fort Worth, to Israel. Another personal highlight was when Terry and I were blessed to be in Israel to attend the historic opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

On May 14, 2018, Terry and I were blessed to be in Israel for the historic opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The event coincided with the 70th anniversary of the creation of the modern state of Israel.

I’ve also sought to support Israel through legislative action when needed. When an organized campaign known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement sought to delegitimize Israel through economic warfare, Texas responded by passing the nation’s strongest anti-BDS bill. This 2017 bill prohibits the State of Texas from doing business with any companies or individual contractors who boycott Israel.

In 2017, Texas passed legislation to combat the BDS movement, which seeks to weaken the nation of Israel through economic boycotts, divestiture efforts, and sanctions. This photo is from the day the bill was signed by Gov. Abbott.

Earlier this year, I filed SB 1517 to fight antisemitism on college campuses and stop academic boycotts of Israel. This bill, now law, requires that institutions of higher education prohibit academic boycotts that deprive students or faculty members of the opportunity to study or conduct research in Israel.   Texas continues to state affirmatively, without reservation: We stand with Israel. And we always will.    

Meeting with the Fort Worth Chapter of Hadassah, whose leaders recognized our efforts to pass the strongest Anti-BDS law in the nation.