Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York signed an executive order on Sunday barring the state from contracting entities that boycott Israel.
“If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you,” said Cuomo, who described the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign as an “economic attack” against Israel. “This state will not stand for the politics of discrimination in any form, and we will continue to demonstrate our unwavering support for the people of Israel in the fight for freedom, liberty and democracy,” he added.
The governor announced the order at the Harvard Club in Manhattan prior to leading the Israel Day Parade, which was attended by some 30,000 people despite unfavorable weather conditions.
The executive order directs that a list of companies and entities that boycott Israel be compiled using credible, publicly available information, and requires all executive-branch state agencies to divest from them. Entities on the list will have the right to appeal.
Anti-BDS legislation has already been introduced in both houses of the New York legislature. The State Senate passed anti-BDS legislation in January.
I am signing an Executive Order that says very clearly we are against the BDS movement. If you boycott Israel, New York will boycott you.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 5, 2016
Alabama became the latest state to pass legislation combating boycotts of Israel last month, following Illinois, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, and Florida. Advocates emphasized that such legislation does not raise any First Amendment issues because private parties are still free to boycott Israel, but states may be obligated to avoid promoting or supporting boycotts based on religion, race, or nationality.
Following passage of the Illinois bill last year, legal expert Eugene Kontorovich said that the measure reflected a belief that “the BDS is not like the civil rights protests, as its supporters love to claim, but rather more like the anti-Jewish boycotts so common in Europe in the 20th century, and in the Arab world until this day.”
Foreign investment in Israel has nearly tripled since the BDS campaign was formally launched by Palestinian groups in 2005, hitting a record high of $285.12 billion last year.
Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, outlined at a congressional hearing in April how members of a network that used to fund Hamas have become the driving force behind the BDS campaign in the United States through the group American Muslims for Palestine.
The BDS campaign attempts to delegitimize and isolate Israel in an effort to advance Palestinian interests, and many of its leaders have publicly affirmed that they seek Israel’s destruction. BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, an opponent of the two-state solution, said in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance,” while leading activist As’ad Abu Khalil acknowledged in 2012 that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”
[Photo: governorandrewcuomo / Flickr]