JTA reports: “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called in his budget for passing laws cutting off businesses from Texas pension plans that adhere to Israel boycotts and broadening laws banning state investments in Iran.”
Texas, like many other states, currently bans state pension and retirement funds from investing in Iran. Abbott last year pledged to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel that he would endeavor to extend the ban to all state agencies and local authorities.
Bills under consideration in both the Texas House and Senate would ban state pensions from dealing with companies complying with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. The language in the measures would include a ban on the pensions investing in companies complying with boycotts of West Bank settlement goods.
It would also create blacklists of the companies that comply with BDS, a characteristic of other state anti-BDS laws that civil libertarians say violates free speech rights. Read full article
Abbott travelled to Israel earlier this month on a plane supplied by pro-Israel megadonor Sheldon Adelson. The Dallas Morning News reports:
Greg Abbott boarded for his flight to Israel belongs to Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire who runs the Las Vegas Sands and has spent heavily on Republican candidates nationally.
Abbott’s office confirmed that the governor flew on Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands 737 after it was initially reported Monday by the Jewish Insider.
Abbott is visiting Israel and Switzerland this week during his third international economic development trip as governor. Monday, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and vowed to ensure tax dollars from Texas aren’t invested in Iran.
Adelson has invested generously in GOP candidates, spending at least some $93 million on primarily GOP-related causes during the 2012 presidential election, according to the Washington Post.
Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, are also prolific philanthropists, supporting Jewish causes and Israel through the Adelson Family Foundation
Adelson is reported to have a net worth of $32 billion and backs a multitude of pro-Israel activities, including such organizations as the Zionist Organization of America, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, whose board is made up of neoconservative former American officials, and Christians United for Israel, an evangelical “grassroots” organization that has voiced support for Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The Texas Tribune reports: “The billionaire recently made national headlines when he was revealed to be the mysterious purchaser of The Las Vegas Review-Journal in December. He also owns the newspaper with the largest circulation in Israel,”
Adelson has said he regrets regrets having served in the U.S. military rather than in the Israeli army: