New York City Mayor Calls BDS ‘Inconsistent With Progressive Values’
New York City’s mayor has denounced the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, saying it is not “consistent with progressive values,” Jewish Insider reported on Monday.
In an address to the Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach on Saturday, Bill de Blasio called on liberals to reject the movement.
“There are plenty of people who support BDS who have advanced degrees and who call themselves progressive. I look forward to challenging them, because it’s ahistorical,” he said.
De Blasio, who referred to himself as a “progressive” during his remarks, said defending Israel is a matter of values and principles. The BDS movement, he said, “seeks to undermine the economy of the state of Israel and makes it harder for Israel to exist, therefore renouncing the very notion that the Jewish people need a homeland in a still dangerous and unsettled world.”
The mayor said Israel has been a guiding light in the Middle East, and criticism of the government’s policies should not be coupled with calls for the state’s extinction.
“We in the United States, or in any nation, you can disagree with a particular government’s policy at that moment in time, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in that nation, or its right to exist, or its founding ideals,” de Blasio said. “Israel, in good and bad, tough times and easier times, has been a beacon.”
This is not the first time that the New York City mayor has made such statements. In 2014, he described himself as a “defender of Israel” during a closed-door forum sponsored by AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby group.
In 2013, he called the BDS movement “inflammatory, dangerous and utterly out of step with the values of New Yorkers.” His comment at the time was made in response to a planned BDS-themed lecture by Brooklyn College’s political science department.
De Blasio is not the only New York official who has come out against the anti-Israel movement. In June, Governor Andrew Cuomo became the first US governor to sign an executive order targeting the BDS movement.
“In New York, we lead by example. We are also a place of action. We want to take immediate action because we want Israel to know that we are on their side. If you boycott Israel, New York will boycott you,” Cuomo said in a speech at the Harvard Club.