The New York City Council overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign last week.
The resolution, which rejected “all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel,” passed by a vote of 40 to four with six abstentions, The New York Daily News reported.
While the symbolic resolution does not have the force of law, Councilman Andy Cohen (D-Bronx), one of the 35 sponsors of the measure, said, “We must take a stand as the home of the largest population of Jews outside the state of Israel and as a people who support the only true democracy in the Middle East, and the United States’ strongest ally in the region.”
The resolution passed following a prolonged debate that saw dozens of anti-Israel protesters ejected from the council chambers for continually disrupting the proceedings, including with shouts of “Zionism is racism,” “F*** Israel,” and “Free Palestine.”
On Thursday last week, Zenobia Ravji, the associate director of coalitions at The Israel Project (which publishes The Tower), testified before the council about the resolution. Ravji, a Zoroastrian who spent two years in Israel, said during her testimony “that Israel was the only country in the Middle East, where Zoroastrians and other religious minorities could peacefully and openly practice their religion.”
Another witness at the hearing was Brooke Goldstein, director of the Lawfare Project, who observed:
While BDS proponents typically claim they are acting to demonstrate disagreement with the Israeli government, these claims are disingenuous and transparent. BDS proponents are free to criticize Israeli policies – as Israelis do every day in one of the world’s most active and dynamic democracies. However, targeting or discriminating against a person or company because of their ethnicity or national origin is entirely unacceptable. One would not boycott a restaurant owned by a Chinese man to protest the Chinese government’s policy, nor would one refuse to purchase from an African American retailer to declare condemnation of the government of Sudan. That is discrimination and it is illegal in New York State, pure and simple.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order in June barring the state from contracting with entities that boycott Israel.
Many leaders of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which was launched by Palestinian groups in 2005, have publicly affirmed that they seek Israel’s destruction. BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, an opponent of the two-state solution, said in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance,” while leading activist As’ad Abu Khalil acknowledged in 2012 that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”