NY Senate to Consider New Anti-BDS Legislation

New York State Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) announced on Tuesday that he will introduce legislation that would obligate the state to cut ties with companies involved in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Speaking at Agudath Israel of America’s legislative breakfast in Manhattan Tuesday morning, Gianaris said his legislation – which will be introduced later today – “will make sure that New York does not do business, investment or a contract with any company that’s participating in the BDS movement.”

“In my opinion, this should be an easy one,” he remarked. “Anyone who steps forward and says this is a legitimate movement should be condemned, and New York State should make a strong statement that we won’t encourage anyone or business that goes down that road.”

The New York State Assembly passed a resolution earlier this year rejecting the BDS movement and reaffirming its support for Israel. The resolution, introduced by Assemblymembers Walter Mosley (D-Brooklyn) and Phil Goldfeder (D-Queens) and co-sponsored by 74 members, rejected the BDS movement and all activities in New York, which “undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution and the right of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination.”

The new Senate legislation, however, would obligate the state of New York to do business or give grants to companies who support boycotting Israel. Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Long Island) introduced the same proposal for the Assembly’s consideration.

A similar bill pushed by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, which would suspend funding to educational institutions that funded groups such as Boycott Israel was tossed out by the rules committee in the Assembly in 2014.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office told Jewish Insider he will review the bill before announcing his support. “The Governor is a staunch supporter of Israel, and we certainly appreciate the sponsor’s intent,” Cuomo’s spokesman Richard Azzopardi said in an emailed statement. “We look forward to ‎reviewing this legislation when it’s submitted.”

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