NEW YORK – More than 100 pro-BDS activists, including Code Pink protesters wearing pink tape over their mouths, marched near Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office in the State Capitol on Wednesday to deliver a petition in opposition to his recent executive order to divest from companies who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The petition has 12,000 signatures, according to a news release by Jewish Voice for Peace.
“In New York, we lead by example. We are also a place of action. We want to take immediate action because we want Israel to know that we are on their side,” Cuomo said during a signing ceremony at The Harvard Club last Sunday. “If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you.”
The executive order commands the commissioner of the Office of General Services to compile a list over the next six months of businesses and groups engaged in “boycott, divestment or sanctions activity targeting Israel, either directly or through a parent or subsidiary.” Once the process is completed, all executive-branch agencies and departments will be required to divest themselves of any company on the list to be made public.
The 100 protesters, some wrapped in Palestinian flags, according to Politico New York, chanted, “When people are occupied, boycott is justified.” One protester held up a poster recalling former Governor Mario Cuomo’s support for anti-apartheid boycott of South Africa. “Hey Andrew, be like dad – support free speech,” the poster read.
Assemblyman Phillip Steck, a Democrat, addressed the activists. “Regardless of how strongly I feel that Israel has a right to exist, Israeli citizens criticize their government all the time, and people here have a constitutional right to criticize Israel without facing retaliation from the government,” he said.