Green Party’s Hawkins condemns Cuomo executive order

On Sunday evening, Green Party activist Howie Hawkins issued a statement condemning an executive order issued by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that ” blacklists and sanctions people, companies, and other organizations that support boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.”

Hawkins stated that “Cuomo’s order is an unconstitutional infringement on 1st Amendment free speech rights, initiates a McCarthyite witch hunt against BDS supporters, unethically defends racial discrimination and human rights abuses by the state of Israel, and makes the possibilities for a just peace in Israel/Palestine all the more difficult. I support BDS against apartheid Israel for the same reasons I supported BDS against apartheid South Africa: racist pass laws, denial of civil and political rights, ethnic cleansing, and theft of land and property by an apartheid state against a targeted ethnic group.”

Read the full statement

 

18 thoughts on “Green Party’s Hawkins condemns Cuomo executive order

  1. Gene Berkman

    Libertarians have civil libertarian criticisms of the state of Israel, as well as a disagreement with the interventionist economic policies of the Israeli government. But every other state in the Middle East is more repressive, and more interventionist.

    Green Party & progressive support for boycott, disinvestment and sanctions against Israel indicate that Greens (not all Greens, but most leaders) and too many progressives have a special animus against Israel that cannot be defended on libertarian or progressive grounds.

    I would have to side with Governor Cuomo on this issue.

  2. steve m

    I would side against Governor Cuomo. What ever the condition of the state of Isreal or any other nation. In the US we tolerate dissent from the political norm. We do not use the power of the government to impose sanctions against individuals for their speech. We Libertarians believe that each individual should decide if they are willing to aid another country, to do business with companies in other countries. Now we have a state governor telling us that we have to do business or that if we choose not to then we have to stay silent.

    In short this is a blatant attack on our first amendment rights. I suspect that a law suit will ensue backed by the ACLU and that the governor will loose. Rightfully so.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/06/nyregion/cuomo-new-york-israel-boycott-bds-movement.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/06/nyregion/cuomo-new-york-israel-boycott-bds-movement.html

  3. Jill Pyeatt

    I absolutely side against Cuomo. BDS is clearly working–it’s a way to get across to Israel that human rights abuses in Gaza are not to be tolerated. This is how the system is supposed to work.

    BDS wouldn’t exist is there weren’t many people with strong feelings on this topic. If the program is causing economic hardships in Israel, perhaps they can sit down with the organizers of Boycott-Divest-Sanction and work out something that works for everyone.

  4. Pete Blome

    There can be no individual liberty without economic liberty. The individual power to decide not to do business with someone residing in Israel has already been taken away by the US government. There are two “laws” that unconstitutionally prohibit individuals from boycotting Israel specifically. The thought that a specific country gets legal protections that infringe on the Bill of Rights for Americans should concern us all. It never was the role of government to tell us who we will or will not do business with.

    Quoted from https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/enforcement/oac

    These “antiboycott” laws are the 1977 amendments to the Export Administration Act (EAA) and the Ribicoff Amendment to the 1976 Tax Reform Act (TRA). While these laws share a common purpose, there are distinctions in their administration….

    What do the Laws Prohibit? Conduct that may be penalized under the TRA and/or prohibited under the EAR includes:
    ?Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
    ?Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality.
    ?Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
    ?Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person.

    Implementing letters of credit containing prohibited boycott terms or conditions.

    The TRA does not “prohibit” conduct, but denies tax benefits (“penalizes”) for certain types of boycott-related agreements.

  5. Gene Berkman

    The BDS movement calls for disinvestment from companies that do business with Israel, or are owend by Israeli companies. Gov. Cuomo’s order does not call for suppression of the BDS movement; it calls for disinvestment by government agencies from entities that support the Boycotts & Disinvestment movement.

    In other words, Gov. Cuomo is using the tactics of the BDS campaign against the BDS campaign. They can hardly complain without calling their own strategy into question.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    “In other words, Gov. Cuomo is using the tactics of the BDS campaign against the BDS campaign. They can hardly complain without calling their own strategy into question.”

    That’s like saying that if I ask people to voluntarily boycott Restaurant X, the governor having the state police surround my house to ensure at gunpoint that everyone boycotts me is just “using my tactics” and I can “hardly complain” about it.

  7. Gene Berkman

    No Tom. the Governor is not preventing individuals and private organization from boycotting Israel. He issued an executive order that indicates what state agencies must do.

  8. Thomas L. Knapp

    Gene,

    Exactly. BDS is private voluntary action. Cuomo’s order is mandated state action. Let him issue a similar order forbidding state investment in enterprises owned by [insert ethnic group here] and see whether or not you think the two are the same thing.

  9. Gene Berkman

    Tom – what the BDS movement proposes is that government agencies, including government employee pension funds, University reserve funds, etc, be banned from investing in companies that do business with Israel. It is government action they are calling for, because they know that no private company in America will support their policy.

    And the BDS movement does not advocate disinvestment or sanctions against a single Arab or Islamic country in the Middle East, all of which practice human rights violations, but only target Israel. Do you think that an ethnic bias is visible in the work of the Boycott Israel movement?

  10. Thomas L. Knapp

    Gene,

    You’re not stupid. So you can stop acting like you’re stupid now.

    The entire BDS movement calls on PEOPLE to boycott Israel commercially and culturally. Some BDS people limit that call to Israeli firms operating in the West Bank/ Gaza, others more extensively to all Israeli institutions.

    PART of the BDS movement attempts to get institutions — some private, such as mutual funds and private college endowments, some government operated, such as public universities, city governments, etc. — to divest in Israeli firms, especially those operating in the West Bank/Gaza.

    Still ANOTHER part of the BDS movement is focused exclusively on government sanctions against Israel until they get what they want (what they claim to want is Israel’s adherence to international law vis a vis the occupied territories and displaced Palestinian Arabs).

    But you knew all that. You apparently thought that other people were stupid enough that if you played stupid, they wouldn’t notice. Wrong answer.

  11. Jill Pyeatt

    Gene asked ” And why have they kept their existence such a secret”?

    I’ve known about BDS for a while. It’s talked about quite a bit in antiwar circles. It’s also a program individuals can be involved in, simply by avoiding the purchase of items whose manufacturers do business with Israel. Unfortunately, that includes a couple companies which are hard to avoid, such as Hewlett-Packard and Starbucks, but others such as Sabra aren’t so hard to avoid.

    What else would you like to know?

  12. Gene Berkman

    I have been aware of the BDS movement for some time. I guess there probably are people who spend time trying to make sure they don’t buy products from Israel -Halva at a grocery store, or Mogen David wine, I guess.

    Are you suggesting Tom that there are such people, and that they do not also support call for Government Employee pension funds to divest from companies that are Israeli owned or do business in Israel? That they do not also support calls for American universities to refuse intellectual cooperation with Israeli universites; that such people do not also support governments -federal, state & local – refusing to hire Israeli companies to do contract work?

    Governor Cuomo’s order, which can legitimately be critized as executive overreach, only calls on government agencies to not contract out to companies that support the BDS campaign, and universities and other government funds are prohibited from investing in companies that support the BDS campaign. How is that not similar to the calls of the BDS campaign for pension funds and other government funds to divest shares of companies that do business with Israel?

  13. Gene Berkman

    Tom, do you support the ending of economic sanctions on Iran? Do you support an end to the embargo on trade with Cuba?

    If the sanctions are lifted on Iran, as per President Obama’s executive agreement, will you favor a boycott of Iranian goods? Will you favor a boycott of companies that do business with Iran? Will you join in opposition to pension funds investing in companies with connections to Iran?

    If the embargo on Cuba is lifted, will you favor a boycott of Cuban goods, and a boycott of companies that do business in Cuba? Will support a campaign to oppose investment in Cuba?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  14. Thomas L. Knapp

    Gene,

    I favor the ending of economic sanctions on Iran. I support an end to the embargo on trade with Cuba.

    If the sanctions are lifted on Iran, I will not favor a boycott of Iranian goods, or of companies that do business with Iran, nor will I oppose pension funds investing in companies with connections to Iran.

    If the embargo on Cuba is lifted, I will not favor a boycott of Cuban goods, or a boycott of companies that do business in Cuba, nor will I oppose investment in Cuba.

    Of course, you can substitute Israel for Iran and Cuba in the above and get the same answers from me. In my opinion, trade is one of the best ways, if not the best way, to promote peace and freedom in most circumstances. Correcting you on the scope and nature of the BDS movement is not the same thing as supporting the BDS movement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *