NY Gov. Cuomo Directly Threatens Businesses: ‘If You Boycott Israel, New York Will Boycott You’

In an unprecedented and unconstitutional move, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, has issued an executive order creating a blacklist of businesses in the state that are involved in the BDS movement against Israel. BDS stands for boycott, divest and sanction, and is a major way of protesting Israel’s illegal actions in Palestine.

The order actually tells state officials to compile a list of businesses involved in the BDS movement so Cuomo can order the State of New York to boycott them. As Baher Azmy, of the Center for Constitutional Rights, put it, this is 21st century McCarthyism, and it’s vile.

Speaking at the exclusive Harvard Club, Cuomo had the gall to say:

“If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you. If you divert revenues from Israel, New York will divert revenues from you. If you sanction Israel, New York will sanction you.”

Citizens United pretty much gave businesses First Amendment rights, and this violates those rights. Cuomo is using government power to coerce – even force – businesses into supporting Israel whether they want to or not. He called BDS an “economic attack on Israel” that must be stopped.

While various states have bills in their legislatures that would likewise sanction businesses involved with the BDS movement, Cuomo’s executive order gives him immediate power to take care of these businesses with a list that will be made public once it’s finished. He even said that passing legislation can often be tedious, as though that’s justification enough for issuing an order like this.

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Omar Barghouti, a founder of the BDS movement, said this isn’t surprising and explained what Israel is busy doing:

“‘Having lost many battles for hearts and minds at the grass-roots level, Israel has adopted since 2014 a new strategy to criminalize support for B.D.S. from the top,’ he said in an email, adding that such actions were meant to ‘shield Israel from accountability.'”

Israel will live by the sword for as long as it can; it will occupy all of the land for as long as it can, and it’s afraid its time will draw to a close sooner rather than later if the U.S. officially condemns their actions in Palestine. As such, they’re brainwashing us.

Alphonso David, Cuomo’s general counsel, said that this order specifies the BDS movement, but would target any boycott aimed at Israel. He also said it’s meant to send a message about the BDS movement:

“Mr. David said in an interview that the executive action was meant to send a clear message that ‘the B.D.S. movement is deplorable.’ He added that the governor’s order was not meant to be interpreted as ‘opining on actions taken to empower Palestinians,’ or meant to discourage debate over Israeli actions in the Middle East. Rather, it intends to stake a position on a movement that ‘the State of New York unequivocally rejects,’ as the order puts it.”

The State of New York can reject whatever it wants. It can issue a statement to that effect. It should not be allowed to trample the 1st Amendment rights of anybody for any reason, especially to protect a country guilty of heinous atrocities.

Constitutional rights are inalienable, unless you use them to protest Israel.


Featured image by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images