Marching to Cuomo’s house (Updated)

Activism
on 21 Comments

Yesterday, a diverse group of about 150 New Yorkers protested in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Westchester County residence, calling on him to rescind his recent executive order attacking the grassroots boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) for Palestinian rights. Legal organizations like the New York Civil Liberties Union and Palestine Legal have stated that Governor Cuomo’s executive order threatens the Constitutional rights of all New Yorkers to engage in boycotts and other economic acts of conscience in support of human rights and social justice struggles.

People marched to New York Gov. Cuomo house to tell him they demand the Right to Boycott for Palestinian human rights. July, 6, 2016 Photo: Jake Ratner

People marched to New York Gov. Cuomo house to tell him they demand the Right to Boycott for Palestinian human rights. July, 6, 2016 Photo: Jake Ratner

The protesters marched from the Mount Kisco train station to Cuomo’s residence, holding signs saying, “We will continue to boycott for justice until Israel ends the brutal military occupation of Palestine,” and “Right to Boycott,” and chanting “Andrew Cuomo, what a shame, playing Joe McCarthy’s game.”

Photo: Jake Ratner

Photo: Jake Ratner

Hundreds of interested passersby took flyers headlined, “Tell Governor Cuomo: rescind the executive order, we have the right to boycott for Palestinian freedom.” The protesters left behind a cardboard tombstone reading “RIP 1st Amendment” that they were promised will be delivered to Governor Cuomo.

Organized by the Freedom to Boycott NYS Coalition, which works with more than 100 community and human rights organizations throughout the state, today’s protest follows Governor Cuomo’s signing of a McCarthyite executive order on June 5, ordering state agencies to divest from organizations that support the Palestinian call to boycott and divest from companies and academic and cultural institutions profiting from or complicit in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and violations of international law.

Photo: Jake Ratner

Photo: Jake Ratner

Further, the order requires the creation of a publicly available blacklist of all companies and institutions that support using boycotts to bring about justice for Palestinians. The Coalition also organized a June 9 protest at Cuomo’s Manhattan office, and a June 15 protest at the State Capital in Albany.

Photo: Jake Ratner

Photo: Jake Ratner

Nada Khader, Director of White Plains-based WESPAC Foundation: A Peace & Justice Action Network, one of the groups that organized the protest, explained: “We are appalled at Governor Cuomo’s blatant disregard for both freedom of speech and expression, and for silencing voices advocating for Palestinian human rights and freedoms through their support of BDS. Governor Cuomo’s unconstitutional action functions as part of a larger right wing and anti-democratic agenda in the United States to hinder support of the growing BDS movement. He should rescind his order immediately.”

Photo: Jake Ratner

Photo: Jake Ratner

Shannon Wong, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Lower Hudson Valley Chapter, said: “The state cannot penalize individuals or entities on the basis of their free expression, and political boycotts are a form of free expression. Creating a government blacklist that imposes state sanctions based on political beliefs raises first amendment concerns, and this executive order is no exception.”

Photo: Jake Ratner

Photo: Jake Ratner

Dima Khalidi, director of Palestine Legal, said: “Governor Cuomo must understand that the government may not punish businesses and other institutions because of their speech activities and political viewpoints. With this executive order, Cuomo has made clear that he has no problem trampling our constitutional rights in order to shield Israel from criticism and accountability, but New Yorkers will not accept being blacklisted for their political views. We look forward to learning more from government documents, in response to our freedom of information request, about the origins of this executive order to expose what’s really behind Cuomo’s decision.”

Jane Hirschmann, founding member of Jews Say No!, one of the groups that organized the protest, said: “We will continue to stand for justice and support boycotts for Palestinian rights until the Palestinian people achieve freedom, justice, and equality. We refuse to accept Governor Cuomo’s attempt to silence us and we will continue to defy his Executive Order. He cannot repress our growing movement for Palestinian rights. We demand that he rescind this order immediately.”

Photo: Jake Ratner

Photo: Jake Ratner

For more information, see the following recent op-ed by Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, published by the Washington Post: I’m Jewish, and I want people to boycott Israel. See also this recent op-ed by Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, published in The Nation magazine: Governor Cuomo, Put Me on Your BDS Blacklist.

Update:

In response to the protest Times Union quotes Governor Cuomo’s spokesperson Richard Azzopardi:

“New York has a long and storied history of peaceful protest and political activism. The BDS movement, however, is anything but these things. It is an exclusively anti-Israel, anti-peace campaign designed to punish Israel economically. There is a clear, legal distinction between political speech and blatantly discriminatory conduct. New York will not permit its own investment activity to further the BDS campaign in any way. This state stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel and fellow states across the nation in condemning this patently prejudiced campaign.”

Adalah shoots back via Twitter

[email protected] responds to protest with Orwellian rhetoric, says #BDS isn’t “peaceful protest”

And:

“Surprised #BDS activists looking to learn from @NYGovcuomo what “peaceful protest”is”

Photo: Jake Ratner

Photo: Jake Ratner

About Adalah-NY

Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel is a grassroots strategic alliance of concerned organizations and individuals in New York, formed to demand an immediate, unconditional, and permanent end to U.S. and U.S.-sponsored Israeli aggression in the Middle East.

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21 Responses

  1. just
    July 7, 2016, 1:18 pm

    Hurrah and thank you to all of these absolutely splendid humans!

    • Annie Robbins
      July 7, 2016, 3:16 pm

      just, check the update! disgusting! cuomo spokesperson:

      “New York has a long and storied history of peaceful protest and political activism. The BDS movement, however, is anything but these things. It is an exclusively anti-Israel, anti-peace campaign designed to punish Israel economically. There is a clear, legal distinction between political speech and blatantly discriminatory conduct. New York will not permit its own investment activity to further the BDS campaign in any way. This state stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel and fellow states across the nation in condemning this patently prejudiced campaign.”

      • amigo
        July 7, 2016, 4:02 pm

        I just bet if these folks were boycotting Iran and trying to punish them economically , this Cuomo apologist would be honouring their efforts.

        You can easily see that these Israel apologists are afraid of what BDS has and will continue to do to Israel .Hence the monumental efforts to stifle any attempt to call Israel to task.

      • just
        July 7, 2016, 4:52 pm

        “anti- peace”~ how ?

        “discriminatory”~ how ?

        How in the heck does a “state” in the US stand “shoulder to shoulder with Israel and fellow states across the nation in condemning this patently prejudiced campaign.” ?

        Ridiculous Ziobubblespeak.

        Thanks annie and thanks to Adalah- NY et al.

        BDS!!! Vote Cuomo and his minions out! pssst~ pass it around!

      • JWalters
        July 9, 2016, 5:18 pm

        Cuomo has been captured by gangsters.

      • jd65
        July 10, 2016, 12:27 pm

        @ JWalters: “Cuomo has been captured by gangsters.” LOL :)

      • Theo
        July 11, 2016, 7:54 am

        Voltaire wrote:
        “If you want to know who is ruling you, find out whom are you forbidden to criticise!”
        These words were true 200 years ago and also are today.
        Our politicians, regardless which party, dance on a short string, and do what they are ordered to do! Greatest democracy in the world? Forget it, you may find that in Switzerland, not by us!

      • MHughes976
        July 11, 2016, 10:18 am

        I don’t think Voltaire made that remark. He was a well-known opponent of Catholicism but I think he regarded its domination of thought as all too open, not as a discreet suppression of criticism or objection. Wikipedia gives the true source as the White supremacist and anti-Semite Kevin Alfred Strom around 1980. No one seems to have produced a better provenance.

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2016, 11:41 am

        “Wikipedia gives the true source as the White supremacist and anti-Semite Kevin Alfred Strom around 1980.”

        So that’s where Voltaire got it! And that’s why the quote is in about a million places preceding 1980. I shoulda thought of that. Wiki sure did.

      • Theo
        July 11, 2016, 12:37 pm

        MHughes

        You may be correct, at that time I was just too young to understand french and to remember such important advice.
        Whoever said it, he was right!!!
        On the other hand, who can really find the original author, we all like to repeat smart sentences.

      • Theo
        July 11, 2016, 12:48 pm

        MHughes

        Just to be sure I have Googled the sentence and found that many sources attribute it to Voltaire!!!!
        I guess one cannot be sure.

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2016, 4:36 pm

        “I guess one cannot be sure.”

        Or, as Voltaire said of Rousseau: “One never knows, do one?”

      • echinococcus
        July 11, 2016, 7:25 pm

        Theo,

        Not only it does not appear anywhere in the Voltaire corpus (all searchable), the first mentions of it are recent, in atrocious translatese, englishified French, not Voltaire’s extremely elegant language, with an attribution to English-language sources. So Hughes is probably right. Same for the famous “I’ll defend with my life your right to say it” stuff…

      • Mooser
        July 12, 2016, 11:18 am

        Sorry, it was (indisputably) Fats Waller who said that.

  2. Annie Robbins
    July 7, 2016, 1:28 pm

    awesome action!!!

  3. Kay24
    July 7, 2016, 6:07 pm

    Time the BDS movement and so many other groups like the JVP and End the Occupation, started referring to any politician that supports and protects Israel, and follows zionist direction, as PRO OCCUPATION. To keep that unwavering support going you have to be okay with the occupation and land grabs. There is no other explanation. For instance they can refer to Cuomo, as the Pro Occupation Governor, Andrew Cuomo.

    • jd65
      July 9, 2016, 1:50 pm

      @ Kay24: I like it! I’d also suggest using the term “anti-Geneva Convention Governor” as well. That term (and yours – “Pro-Occupation”) certainly makes more sense than labeling BDS “anti-Peace.” Then again, maybe we’ve already moved into the era of Newspeak. I mean, when that happens we won’t know it, right? Peace out… (or should I say, War out…).

      • kev
        July 10, 2016, 1:21 pm

        @jd65, @Kay24 – Don’t forget to use that twitter thingy (though I don’t). I’d suggest hashtags like #CuomoProOccupation and #CuomoAntiGenevaConvention, as well as #CuomoAntiFirstAmendment. Maybe also #CuomoAntiHumanRights.

  4. DaBakr
    July 9, 2016, 10:10 pm

    Boycotts never work in bringing any strong government to there ‘knees’. Not in SA apartheid regime and it will not bring change to Israel and will definitely hurt Palestinians more then Israelis. Listen podcast from NPR on extensive non-political study by academic EU professors

    NPR. freakanomicsradio.com : boycotts.

  5. oldgeezer
    July 9, 2016, 10:46 pm

    @duhbaker

    I will take you at your word.

    Then stop griping about bds.

    Any pretense that you care about Palestinians isn’t going to sell with anyone who has encountered you. That you care about anyone other than yourself and your tribe isn’t going to sell for that matter. Maybe you can tell us how much you love puppies?

    When Palestinian society decide that they wish to end BDS then I will listen to them. You really have no say in the matter. Although you do have the option to have me drop it unilaterally if you get your rogue state to obey international law and provide justice and equal rights to all.

    Your choice. Put up or shut up, as the saying goes.

    • inbound39
      July 11, 2016, 1:42 am

      You took the words right outta my mouth old geezer….well articulated!

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