New Yorkers Have The Right To Boycott On Sunday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 157, which commits the State of New York to fighting the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” [BDS] movement. The BDS campaign was initiated by the Palestinian people in 2005 to put pressure on Israel to end its occupation of lands seized in the 1967 war. As a result of a half-century of diplomacy, these lands are generally recognized to be the home of a future Palestinian state, but instead of withdrawing from these lands, Israel has put several hundred thousand colonizers into newly constructed “settlements” and cities. BDS activities, which are strongest in Europe, are an attempt to influence Israel to abide by international law and withdraw from the Occupied Territories.
Since support for holding the Israeli government accountable for its continued violations of the human rights of the Palestinians people is growing, there is a concerted effort across the country to get states to pass bills to blacklist supporters of BDS. The NYS legislature did not bring this bill to a vote because many legislators realized that it was unconstitutional. Unfortunately this did not stop Governor Cuomo, who chose to bypass his legislative body and create an executive order, which will require the state to create a blacklist of companies and organizations that support the BDS campaign. The state will then divest their funds from these companies, effectively punishing them for expressing their First Amendment right to political speech. Boycott, a non-violent means of protest, has a long history in the United States, from the Civil Rights movement to helping to end South African Apartheid. Dissenting political views must be protected.
What is the governor thinking by asking the state to create a politically motivated blacklist? He is bringing us back to the horrors of McCarthyism. WESPAC Middle East Committee representative, Felice Gelman, reminds us that Gov. Cuomo just ordered NYS to boycott North Carolina for its policies on public bathrooms. “Why are Palestinian human rights singled out to be repressed ?” asks Gelman. It is unconstitutional to punish those who use boycott and divestment as a means to bring about political change. Boycotts are a constitutionally protected and time-honored nonviolent way to achieve social justice. The governor is acting as if he is more interested in protecting the interests of Israel than in protecting the rights of Americans. Tell the Governor that New Yorkers have the right to boycott and that he needs to recall his executive order. Sign the petition demanding Governor Cuomo to rescind executive order 157
Click here: JVP: If you are a New York State resident please also call Governor Cuomo’s office 1-518-474-8390 and tell him that you want him to rescind executive order 157. Ceil Lavan, OP