Folks are talking about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s petulant piece in the Washington Post defending his indefensible executive order barring state business with anyone who advocates Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel. Obviously, he couldn’t get it published in his hometown paper, the New York Times. That’s another good sign.
So is this sort of absurd statement that is bound to offend Americans:
New York stands with Israel because we are Israel and Israel is us. Our values — freedom, democracy, liberty and the pursuit of peace — are collective, as is our drive to achieve them.
So is this hideous description of the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014 that resulted in about 72 Israeli deaths, all but six combatants, and 2200 Palestinians deaths, including the deaths of 500 children.
The coldblooded terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv this week served as a chilling reminder of the summer of 2014, when a steady rain of terrorist rockets from Gaza confined the vast majority of the Israeli population to bomb shelters and protected rooms. During a visit with a bipartisan delegation that August, I was shown a miles-long Hamas tunnel built to infiltrate Israel’s southern communities and murder their residents. The tunnel was frightening because it was the manifestation of the single-minded obsession by Israel’s enemies to destroy the Jewish state. And yet, in many ways it was not nearly as frightening as continued efforts to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel.
That is why I recently signed the first executive order by a U.S. governor to help protect Israel from these pernicious efforts to punish it economically.
There is simply no acknowledgement of what everyone supporting Bernie Sanders knows and Sanders said in the April New York debate: Israel inflicted disproportionate attacks on Palestinian civilians, and they still haven’t rebuilt their homes.
Cuomo tries to meet the widespread contention by civil libertarians that his order is a McCarthyist blacklist on free speech by arguing that BDS is anti-semitism: “the politics of discrimination, hatred and fear.”
There is a clear, well-established legal distinction between political speech — whom you vote for, whom you stand with in a public rally — and blatant discriminatory conduct such as BDS activities. If a business owner refuses to serve or hire someone based on race, religion or ethnicity, it is illegal and sanctionable. If that same person attends a political rally decrying one group of people — African Americans, Jews, the LGBT community — it is constitutionally protected speech.
So the governor entirely conflates Judaism and Zionism, and leaves out the many Jews who support BDS. As the governor of a state that is Israel, Cuomo reflects Israeli fears about BDS:
Dressed up as a peaceful challenge, the BDS movement is in fact anti-peace. It is a smear campaign designed to delegitimize the state of Israel and inflict severe economic damage.
The several references to economic damage and New York’s economic partnership with Israel along with the claim that BDS is a “new brand of warfare” are all reminders that even as Bloomberg News says that BDS is failing, because Israeli trade is way up, the psychological damage has been huge. Michael Arnold, Bloomberg’s reporter in Tel Aviv, laments that Roger Waters isn’t coming to play any time soon, and he’s a Roger Waters fan.
The piece surely got rejected by the Times because it is crammed with hysteria. It likens BDS to ISIS!
New York will not remain complicit in this intolerant crusade. I call on my fellow governors from states across the nation to join us in rejecting these extremist, radical ideals, because we need to fight this movement on every front.
Across the globe, terrorist organizations are lining up, tearing at the very fabric of our democracies. This is the new normal of terrorism, and we must be resolute in our drive to combat it. We must not lead with darkness, but instead with light and compassion.
The Cuomo order is a huge win for the BDS side. It is so nutty and intolerant it has raised the question in people’s minds of why he is doing this? One obvious answer: For political contributions, from the likes of Haim Saban, Hillary Clinton’s supporter to whom she has also promised she will fight BDS, working with Republicans.
Thanks to Bill McGowan, who notes, “The piece makes Israel the 51st state. And Hamas’s tunnels and lousy rockets are worse than massive ISR war crimes committed with the help of US supplied weapons. What a naked pandering opportunist.”