On Monday I spoke with Sharmini Peries of The Real News about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
Signed in the presence of Israeli government and Israel lobby officials on Sunday, the measure orders New York bureaucrats to create a blacklist of companies and institutions deemed to be supporters of BDS.
State agencies must then divest any funds from bodies named on the blacklist.
As I say in the interview in the video above, the executive order is a direct attack on First Amendment free speech rights.
“The BDS movement is democracy in action, and there’s nothing that people like Cuomo and the bigwigs in the Democratic Party and the Republican Party hate more than democracy in action,” I explain.
But it is important to stress that despite all the restrictions that Israel lobby groups are pushing governments to adopt, no one can actually make it a crime in the United States to support the boycott of Israel.
The right to boycott is protected by the Constitution.
This means that it remains perfectly legal to call for, organize and mobilize for boycott of Israel or any other state or entity – for example, North Carolina.
One clarification: in the interview I refer to a measure that would bar state agencies from contracting services from individuals or companies that are on the blacklist.
This provision is contained in bill A8220A that is currently before the New York legislature.
But it is not in the governor’s executive order, which deals only with investment of state funds.