New Yorkers descended on Albany on June 15 to denounce Governor Cuomo's Executive Order attacking the international, nonviolent, boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement for Palestinian human rights. Rosa Clemente, Green Party 2008 Vice Presidential candidate and Black Lives Matter Upstate Organizer, spoke to a crowd in the NYS Capital during Freedom to Boycott Rally.
In her remarks, Clemente drew the connections between Israeli state violence against Palestinians and police violence against people of color in the US and around the world and decried the attacks on the BDS movement by politicians like Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo. The Green Party has supported the BDS call since 2005.
Protestors argue BDS order infringes on freedom of speech
A petition with 12,000 signatures protesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order directing state agencies to divest in entities that are participating in the BDS movement against Israel made its way to his desk today – well, his secretary’s desk at least.
The group of some 200 protestors gathered at the Capitol with signs and banners advocating for their right to participate and support those engaged in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aimed at Israel.
“I got on a bus at 7 a.m. calling with all of you on Gov. Cuomo to rescind this McCarthyite attack intended to suppress boycotts and divestment campaigns in support of Palestinian freedom and human rights,” said Alana Krivo-Kaufman, staff member at Jewish Voices for Peace, “And are we going to let him?”
The crowd responded with a decisive “No!”
BDS aims to put economic pressure on Israel to end the country’s occupation of what supporters say is Palestinian land.
“Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is a non violent tactic that supports Palestinian human rights,” said CODEPINK staff member Ariel Gold. “It is based on the practice that helped end Apartheid in South Africa, and it is in tradition of the U.S. civil rights movement including the Montgomery bus boycott.”
Activists claimed Cuomo’s order is an attack on their right to participate in social movements.
“CODEPINK and my family and everyone here today is appalled by Gov. Cuomo’s attack on our first amendment right to boycott,” Gold said.
The order, which Cuomo signed 10 days ago, also calls for compilation of a list of all organizations and companies participating in the BDS movement.
Despite the fear of landing on what protestors called the “blacklist,” they remained supportive of the Palestinians.
“You cannot take a social justice position today without supporting Palestinian rights,” said Joe Lombardo from the United National Antiwar Coalition, “And so that’s why we’re here today.”
Groups including Freedom to BoycottNY, CODEPINK, Jewish Voices for Peace, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, PeaceActionNew YorkState, Black Lives Matter Upstate NY and Green Party of NY endorsed the rally. Assemblyman Phil Steck also showed his support at the event.
“We are parents,” Krivo-Kaufman said. “We are young people. We are secular. We are religious. We are rabbis, and we are artists. We are students, and we are teachers.”