Photo by William Alatriste/NYC Council - JCRC head Michael Miller testifying at the Council hearing on anti-BDS resolution
NEW YORK – Pro-Palestinian activists and members of the Black Lives Matter movement on Thursday continuously disrupted a hearing held by the New York City Council Committee on Contracts on a resolution that condemns the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the state of Israel.
The resolution, sponsored by Council Member Andrew Cohen and co-sponsored by 33 of the 51 members, condemns “all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel.”
Jewish community leaders, pro-Palestinian activists, and representatives of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta testified at the hearing held in the City Council Chambers in downtown Manhattan.
As Conference of Presidents Chairman Stephen Greenberg testified, several members stood up, holding up Palestinian flags or posters of Palestinian children and chanted “Zionism is racism,” “Israel is a terrorist state” and “Free Palestine” before they were escorted out by security guards. The scene was repeated almost a dozen times in the course of 20 minutes.
“New York City is home to the largest Jewish community outside of Israel and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which does not affirm Israel’s right to exist is a harmful, exclusionary campaign aimed at undermining the unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States,” NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement to Jewish Insider. “When New York leads, other cities follow, and the Council’s resolution- on the heels of State Action to divest public funding supporting BDS- makes clear that any and all attempts to isolate and defame Israel and the Jewish people are wholly unacceptable.”
The Council will vote on the resolution in the coming weeks, according to a City Council spokesperson.
In June, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order that orders state agencies to divest themselves of companies and organizations who support the BDS movement. “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 at a signing ceremony in New York City. “If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you.”
Last month, as first reported by Jewish Insider, Mayor Bill de Blasio implored his fellow progressives to reject the BDS movement as being consistent with progressive values. “There are plenty of people who support BDS who have advanced degrees and who call themselves progressives. I look forward to challenging them because it’s ahistorical,” De Blasio, a prominent progressive leader, told congregants in an address after Shabbat morning services at the Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, New York. “I think it’s one of the most ahistorical things I’ve ever seen.”