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Bloomberg once accused BDS supporters of wanting Israelis to be ‘massacred’

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In 2012, Brooklyn’s Park Slope Food Coop held a vote over whether or not to support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. One of those responses came from Michael Bloomberg, who was the Mayor of NYC at the time. “I think it has nothing to do with the food,” he said after being asked about the vote at a press conference. “The issue is there are people who want Israel to be torn apart and everybody to be massacred, and America is not going to let that happen.”

Despite Bloomberg’s characterization of boycott supporters, he’d later go on to defend Brooklyn College’s right to host a BDS event in 2013. State lawmakers had threatened funding cuts over the fact the the school’s political science department sponsored the event. “If you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg went on to criticize the controversy for giving BDS supporters even more exposure. “If you want to promote views that you find abhorrent, this is exactly the way to do it,” he said.

“What the protesters have done is given a lot of attention to the very idea they keep saying they don’t want people to talk about!” he said at the same press conference where he addressed the Brooklyn College drama. “If they just shut up, it would have gone away! It would be a bunch of kids on a campus. Nobody would have gone to listen to them and nobody [would have] seen it. Now they’ve created the very monster that they say they’re opposed to.”

BDS wasn’t nearly as well known in 2012 as it is now, but some of its exposure is surely connected to the hysterical reactions it generated from lawmakers. Recent polling suggests that support for the movement is increasing as more people learn about it. In 2014, Bloomberg addressed BDS again, dismissing it as an “outrage” that is “totally misplaced.”

Bloomberg has been a staunch supporter of Israel for years. During Operation Protective Edge, he defied a flight ban to show support for the country and later defended its targeting of a United Nations school.

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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11 Responses

  1. Misterioso on February 17, 2020, 11:23 am

    Zionist indoctrination of American Jewish youth:

    “3,000 teens attending BBYO Convention that propagandizes them on Israel”
    By Alison Weir, Feb. 15/20, If Americans Knew Blog.

    “More than 3,000 Jewish teens are attending a convention this weekend that propagandizes them to support Israel despite Israel’s long record of discrimination, human rights violations, and spying on the US.

    “The organization is BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization), which states that it is ‘the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. With a network of hundreds of chapters across North America and in 50 countries around the world, BBYO reaches over 70,000 teens annually and serves as the Jewish community’s largest and most valuable platform for delivering fun, meaningful and affordable experiences that inspire a lasting connection to the Jewish people.’

    “One of BBYO’s activities is promoting Israel.”

    “The organization states that it has an ‘unwavering commitment to the State of Israel’ and reports that it has brought ‘a connection to Israel’ to thousands of Jewish teens. Today, BBYO reaches 70,000 Jewish teens in 700+ chapters across 50 countries around the world.’

    “BBYO reports: ‘For more than 95 years, BBYO‘s leadership programs, the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA, high school fraternity) and the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG, high school sorority) have been providing exceptional leadership programs and identity enrichment experiences, shaping the confidence and character of more than 350,000 alumni who are among the most prominent figures in business, politics, academia, the arts, and Jewish communal life.’

    “It states, ‘AZA and BBG’s history is closely tied to that of the State of Israel. AZA and BBG leaders signed a declaration recognizing the State of Israel before independence in 1948 and have been experiencing Israel through teen travel since 1956. As the leaders of the global Jewish community, it is our responsibility to learn about, appreciate, advocate for, challenge, and shape the future of Israel.’

    “One of its programs has been ‘Speak UP for Israel‘, BBYO’s campaign for Israel education and advocacy.’ Another is its ‘Explore Israel’ initiative, which works to ’empower leaders, dialogue with local, national, and international government representatives, plan rallies, write petitions, create information campaigns, and utilize media outlets to educate our communities and advocate for Israel.’”

    • RoHa on February 17, 2020, 11:52 pm

      ” identity enrichment experiences”

      That phrase spoiled my breakfast.

  2. James Canning on February 17, 2020, 11:40 am

    Without BDS, what chance is there Israel will at some point agree to end its occupation of the Palestinian Territories?

  3. eljay on February 17, 2020, 11:41 am

    … Michael Bloomberg … “The issue is there are people who want Israel to be torn apart and everybody to be massacred, and America is not going to let that happen.” …

    It’s possible that some people might want “Israel torn apart and everybody massacred”, but it’s an incontrovertible fact that every single Zionist – including Michael Bloomberg – wants Jewish supremacism in/and as large as possible a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”, and America is quite happy to let help make that happen.

  4. brent on February 17, 2020, 1:07 pm

    We have two world views certain their narrative is right, the other’s wrong. One with righteous intentions, the other’s evil. Without taking sides, it is a given that good and evil reside in every man.

    Defeating the other or its narrative is a long game and I question it’s the way to move forward now. The way to peace, to co-existence.

    The plan Trump published makes obvious the futility of any plausible two-state plan.

    The PLO’s secular state plan seems the only way forward now. Can intellectuals from either side point a path toward arriving at a secular state?

    • CigarGod on February 18, 2020, 11:00 am

      Once upon a time…there were commonly held (perhaps loosely held…with loopholes) standards of civilized behavior.
      Arguing about who is right or wrong without measuring against a standard is pointless.

    • jackal on February 23, 2020, 4:57 pm

      ” Without taking sides, it is a given that good and evil reside in every man.”
      Brent, that is a brilliant philosophical commentary. If you haven’t already, you should patent it.
      So, if I side with Israel, am I good or evil? Who decides? Who’s the judge?
      My mother was a saint. She was a Mennonite born in Russia. The only time in her entire life that I ever heard her say anything racist was when she made a comment about “da jude.” Was this simply a fact of life in her upbringing or was there, as you suggest, something evil in her thoughts about Jewish people?

  5. Kay24 on February 18, 2020, 9:15 am

    So said Mike, but the reality is, it is Israel who is massacring unarmed civilians, and has torn the Palestinian territories so much, there are only tiny slivers of it left on the map. Well, Jared did offer a dark tunnel to get back and forth. So generous.
    Mike had better take a hike.

  6. Vera Gottlieb on February 18, 2020, 10:39 am

    The ones that are being massacred are the Palestinians. For shame, israel!! you got blood on both hands.

  7. CHUCKMAN on February 18, 2020, 11:26 am

    Now that he’s out making campaign speeches on various topics, I see Michael Bloomberg is a darker figure than I had realized.

    He’s making some rather ominous statements about charging people with “domestic terrorism” and ”hate crimes” in the context of anti-Semitism, a very dangerous business given such recent history as the abuse of British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn on that subject.

    Bloomberg also went out of his way to condemn the BDS movement, which of course encourages people to use peaceful, voluntary means to pressure Israel over its apartheid treatment of millions of Palestinians. Peaceful boycotts are what brought an end to apartheid South Africa.

    Some of his statements on healthcare also strike me as pretty disagreeable.

  8. genesto on February 18, 2020, 4:18 pm

    Another tired, old, sexist, Zionist billionaire who believes profiling black people is perfectly justified, thinks the wealth tax is ‘unconstitutional’, wants to cut Social Security and Medicare, opposes a $15 per hour minimum wage and has no problem with Israel bombing buildings holding Palestinian mothers trying to protect their children.

    Oh, and he’s boring as hell!

    Yep, JUST what the Democratic Party needs – to lose BOTH the House and Senate, and assure Emperor Trump another 4 years and complete takeover of the country!

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