Texas Governor Greg Abbott met today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the strong historical bond between Texas and Israel, according to a press release from the Office of the Texas Governor, provided by Press Secretary John Wittman today, Tuesday, January 19, 2016. Abbott met with Netanyahu to determine how he can further strengthen that relationship. The 48th governor of the Lone Star State reassured Netanyahu that Texas will maintain its Iran divestiture policy. The Governor further announced he would seek new laws to strengthen Texas prohibitions on the investment of public funds in Iran.
Governor Abbott said the following: “As Governor, I am a steadfast supporter and friend to the State of Israel-and the State of Texas’ policies will reflect that. That is why today I am announcing action to ensure Texas maintains its Iran divestiture policy despite the federal government’s deal. Further, I am calling for new legislation that will strengthen Texas existing divestiture laws and ensure Texas taxpayer funds do not enrich Iran.”
Governor Abbott went so far as to itemize a list of actions he will take during the next legislative session with the goal of achieving the following:
l. Require local governmental entities to divest investments in Iran. Although federal law allows for locals to impose such sanctions, current Texas law does not require local governments to divest investments in Iran. Texas will update its laws to align local governments with the state’s strong interest in crippling Iran.
2. Require all Texas state entities that invest money to divest Iran investments-not just Texas various retirement funds. Currently, Texas law does not require local governments to divest investments in Iran. All state and local governmental entities should be subject to the prohibition against contracting with or investing in Iran or companies that conduct business with Iran.
3. Close loopholes in Texas’ Iran divestitment law. Texas law does not contain multiple loopholes in its divestiture statute. Texas will examine these loopholes to determine where and how these exceptions can be minimized or eliminated altogether.
Governor Abbott in September sent a letter to the Texas Congressional Delegation opposing the Iran nuclear deal. The Iranian nuclear deal has caused concern among many Americans because it releases billions of dollars which Iran can use to spread terror around the globe. There is also concern that the deal will allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons which can be used to attack both Israel and the United States.
Governor Abbott’s actions while visiting Israel should succeed in reassuring one of America’s top allies that there are still statesmen like Abbott in the U.S. who recognize the significance of a strong alliance between the two democracies.
Governor Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott’s visit to Israel comes in the wake of the nuclear deal involving the U.S. and five other world powers that lifted international sanctions on Iran, according to Fox 7 News affiliate of Austin. Governor Abbott will next attend the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Hopefully, Abbott’s conversation with Netanyahu will reassure the Israelis there are stilll leaders in the U.S. who support Israel. Since Iran has vowed to destroy Israel and the U.S., it makes sense to support Israel and not Iran.