New York mayoral condidate Andrew Yang, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP/Kevin Hagen) (AP/Kevin Hagen)
NYC Mayor's Race Yang

Former presidential candidate promises to push back against BDS, which “singles out Israel for unfair economic punishment.”

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang announced that his election platform includes a solid stance against the BDS movement that is trying to delegitimize Israel, the New York Post reported Saturday.

Yang, who last year ran for president in the Democratic primaries, wrote a column on the news website The Forward aimed at Jewish voters called “My vision for New York City’s Jewish community” in which he said he would be a “reliable partner” by cracking down on hate crimes and anti-Semitism.

A high-tech entrepreneur, Yang pledged to “push back against the BDS movement,” which he argued “singles out Israel for unfair economic punishment.”

“Not only is BDS rooted in anti-Semitic thought and history, hearkening back to fascist boycotts of Jewish businesses, it’s also a direct shot at New York City’s economy,” Yang wrote. “Strong ties with Israel are essential for a global city such as ours, which boasts the highest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel. Our economy is struggling, and we should be looking for ways to bring back small businesses, not stop commerce.”

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was started by anti-Israel Palestinians and is not aimed at a peaceful two-state solution, but works instead to delegitimize Israel in a bid to replace it with a single state. The BDS movement is known for harassing and intimidating Jewish students and Israel supporters on college campuses. It calls for silencing Israeli professors and college students with a worldwide ban on all Israeli academics.

Yang’s column was harshly criticized by anti-Israel activists for likening BDS to Nazi boycotts of Jewish businesses, gaining the attention of known anti-Semite Linda Sarsour, who called his comments “outrageous libel.”

“Yang’s explicit smear of activists, and implicit insult of Palestinians, is something I’d have expected to hear from the Trump administration,” Sarsour said.

However, Yang is backed up by a New York State executive order signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2016 that ordered all state entities to “divest all public funds supporting the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel” and “ensure that no State agency or authority engages in or promotes any investment activity that would further the harmful and discriminatory Palestinian-backed Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in New York State.”

In his parting messages last week, outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was proud that President Trump extended Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to protect Jewish American students, who face increasing harassment in schools and on college campuses from BDS activists, “and ruled that the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is a manifestation of anti-Semitism.”

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