Cuomo to travel to Israel for trade and solidarity mission on Wednesday

State Visit

New York governor says visit shows his close ties with the Jewish community and the state's clear position on Israel

Jacob Kornbluh

Governor Andrew Cuomo at the Western Wall March 05, 2017

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to travel to Israel for a 24-hour solidarity and trade mission trip on Wednesday.

“Israel is a very important trade partner for us. We are going to go to Israel and do a trade mission, basically talking to businesses that are there, specifically on our economic-development agenda, drone technology — which we are investing in very heavily, especially in central New York,” Cuomo said in an interview on New York WAMC’s The Roundtable program Monday morning. “We are also going to talk to software companies in Israel… to see if they would be interested in helping the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) developing a software product for the navigation system in the trains.”

The trip will also serve as a solidarity mission with the Jewish community in New York amid a sharp increase in antisemitic incidents across the state, Cuomo said. 

“I am very close, and New Yorkers are very close to Israel,” he said. “There has been a rash of antisemitism all across this country, the synagogue shootings, etc. We’ve had it all across this state, and it’s repugnant to what New Yorkers believe and feel. And I hope there’s a message of solidarity and partnership in my trip to Israel and I hope that the Jewish community here is confident in this state’s position vis-à-vis Israel.”

The Democratic governor first announced the visit — his third such trip as governor — at the annual Celebrate Israel parade on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue earlier this month. Last July, the governor postponed a planned mission to Israel amid ongoing violence on the border with Gaza.

Cuomo said that, as a member of the Democratic Party, he’s not concerned about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warm relationship with President Trump. “He’s a close ally of the president and I think he’s working with this president for his own interests, and they may have a coincidence of interest,” Cuomo explained. 

Cuomo went on to decry those whose criticism of Israel veers into antisemitism.

“Look, you can have political differences and we can sit here and say we politically differ with Israel’s policies on whatever issue, but how does that transfer into hate and antisemitism?” the governor asked. “I understand we have an overheated political environment in this country, but we also have a constitutional and legacy of accepting and living together and accepting diversity. And the Jewish community is an essential part of the state. So you want to have a political difference with Israel, be my guest. But you have no right to turn that into antisemitism.”

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