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US city links hurricane relief to support for Israel

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US city links hurricane aid to support for Israel

Those wishing to receive Hurricane Harvey relief funds in the US city of Dickinson, Texas, will have to sign an agreement that they will not boycott Israel.

An application for a Hurricane Harvey Repair Grant posted on the Dickinson city website this week includes a "Verification not to Boycott Israel" clause.

The clause states that by signing the agreement, "the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement".

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has strongly criticised the contract, saying it infringes on constitutional rights.

"It is flatly unconstitutional, and morally outrageous, for the government to impose political litmus tests on access to disaster relief funds," ACLU representative Brian Hauss told Al Jazeera.

"Supreme Court precedents going back to the McCarthy era establish that the government cannot force people to sign loyalty oaths or other certifications regarding their political beliefs, expression and association in exchange for government benefits."

Dickinson, a city located in the greater Houston area and with just under 20,000 people, was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey two months ago. About half of its citizens were affected by the devastating hurricane. At least three people died, local media reported.

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