Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed an executive order Sunday declaring that New York state will not conduct business with companies that participate in a pro-Palestinian campaign to penalize Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions.
“If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you,” Cuomo said in Manhattan, surrounded by dozens of Democratic lawmakers and Jewish community leaders. “If you divert revenues from Israel, New York will divert revenues from you. If you sanction Israel, New York will sanction you, period.”
The Democratic governor also denounced members of his party who have criticized the Jewish state’s policies and military response toward Palestinians.
The state will develop a list of institutions and companies that are part of the BDS movement, according to the executive order.
Advocates of the global BDS campaign say Israel is violating international law and Palestinian rights. Opponents point out that a founder and backers have denied Israel’s right to exist.
The spotlight on Israel-Palestinian relations — and its place on the Democratic Party’s platform — is growing ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July in Philadelphia. A Pew Research Center poll last month showed liberal Democrats and millennials are sympathizing more with the Palestinians than with Israel.
Cuomo alluded to presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his pro-Palestinian appointments to the platform-writing committee.
“You now have aspects of the Democratic Party that are being critical of Israel as being disproportionate in its response,” said the governor, a supporter of likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. “To question Israel’s response saddens me.”
Sanders called Israel’s military response in the 2014 Gaza war “disproportionate,” criticizing the approach that killed 2,000 Palestinians while saying he is “100 percent” pro-Israel.
“If we are ever going to bring peace to that region … we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity,” Sanders said at a debate in Brooklyn in April.
His campaign Sunday did not respond to a request for comment on Cuomo’s anti-BDS measure.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) at Cuomo’s announcement called Sanders’ “disproportionate” remark “incendiary and disgusting.” He added that the BDS movement is “anti-Semitic.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a separate announcement Sunday in Manhattan said he was looking at introducing a federal measure against the BDS campaign.