In an executive order enacted by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, his state can now cease conducting business with companies that support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (or B.D.S.) movement of Israel.
According to the Newsday, Cuomo signed the executive pro-Israel order on Sunday and announced the details of it in Manhattan with fellow Democratic lawmakers and Jewish community leaders surrounding him.
“If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you,” said Cuomo. “If you divert revenues from Israel, New York will divert revenues from you. If you sanction Israel, New York will sanction you, period.”
Under the new pro-Israel order, New York State’s Office of General Services will develop a list of companies and institutions who participate in the B.D.S. movement against the Jewish State, according to The New York Post. This list will then be posted on the agency’s website in six months and will be updated biannually using “credible information.”
“This order sends the message that this state will do everything in its power to end this hateful, intolerant campaign,” said Cuomo, at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, where the order was signed.
Cuomo continued, “New York and Israel share an unbreakable bond and I pray that the Israeli and Palestinian people will find a way to live side by side and find peace, prosperity and security.”
The governor also called out fellow Democrats who have criticized Israel’s for its policies, as well as their treatment of and military response towards Palestinians. According to a Pew Research Poll from May, it found that liberal Democrats and millennials sympathize more with Palestine than Israel.
“You now have aspects of the Democratic Party that are being critical of Israel as being disproportionate in its response,” said Cuomo. “To question Israel’s response saddens me.”
Cuomo, who was then seen marching in the Celebrate Israel parade, also challenged governors to follow suit, as reported by The New York Times. Other states have enacted pro-Israel orders preventing their governments from doing business with companies who support boycotts of the Jewish State. In the New York State Senate, a similar Republican-sponsored bill was passed in January.
Many took to social media to praise the new pro-Israel order in New York.
According to The Washington Post, the United Jewish Appeal in New York applauded Cuomo’s executive order in a statement. CEO Eric S. Goldstein said that he and his organization are, “proud that the governor of New York state has taken this historic action to stand with Israel and reject the B.D.S. movement.”
However, there has been opposition from many including Omar Barghouti, founder of the B.D.S. movement. Speaking to The New York Times, via email he called New York’s new pro-Israel order “as legal warfare against B.D.S.” and that this kind of support “shields Israel from accountability.”
“Having lost many battles for hearts and minds at the grass-roots level, Israel has adopted since 2014 a new strategy to criminalize support for B.D.S. from the top,” said Barghouti.
Rahul Sakenska, a staff attorney for the organization Palestine Legal spoke to Salon in January about anti-B.D.S. measures which he described as “21st century McCarthyism,” and unconstitutional.
“It’s frightening to think there could be New York state employees scouring the internet for pro-BDS Facebook posts, tweets and news articles, and blacklisting individuals based on their political viewpoints,” said Sakenska.
He continued, “The government cannot punish individuals and entities because of their speech and political views.”
“Cuomo has recently made a habit of expressing political solidarity by banning people from doing things,” said Hannah Gold, of Gawker, referring to the ban of unessential government travel to North Carolina following the anti-LGBT laws enacted there.
Also on Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that he was considering passing a federal equivalent to Gov. Cuomo’s pro-Israel order.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]