New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday issued the first executive order in the country that forces state entities to drop investments linked to boycotts of Israel.
The Democratic governor expects state agencies to divest all public funds from any company or individual with ties to the movement known as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). BDS was founded in 2005 to protest Israel’s actions toward Palestinians by boycotting Israeli products and companies.
Cuomo says New York will boycott anyone who is boycotting Israel.
“This order sends the message that this state will do everything in its power to end this hateful, intolerant campaign,” the governor said. “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.”
Cuomo signed the order at Manhattan’s Harvard Club before marching in the annual Celebrate Israel parade.
Based on the governor’s action, state officials must now compile a list of businesses and groups engaged in any “boycott, divestment or sanctions targeting Israel, directly or through a parent or subsidiary.”
The list will be assembled using “credible information available to the public,” according to the order, and those who end up on the list may appeal.
A leading constitutional rights attorney calls the action “21st century McCarthyism.”
The governor said the campaign to cut economic ties to Israel is more dangerous than the traditional physical attacks that country has faced from terrorists.
“[A]s frightening as those tunnels are and as radical as the mindset and [obsessiveness] that built those tunnels, this BDS movement is in many ways more frightening,” he said. “Because what they’re saying is they are not making a physical attack — they want to make an economic attack. And it’s not just radicals that are willing to build tunnels. They are going to mainstream businesses across the world to generate a corporate, a corporate enemy for Israel, and we cannot allow that to happen, period.”
Cuomo said he wanted every governor in the nation to sign executive orders similar to his.
Senator Chuck Schumer, at an unrelated event in Manhattan, said Cuomo’s executive order was “an excellent idea,” and said, “I am looking at introducing a federal law to do the same thing, because one state is one thing, but to do it in the whole country would be much better.”
The United Jewish Appeal in New York praised Cuomo for being the first governor to issue an executive order opposing BDS.
In a statement, CEO Eric S. Goldstein said his organization is “proud that the governor of New York state has taken this historic action to stand with Israel and reject the BDS movement.”
By: AP. With files from Politico.
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