New York Jews Reject Mayor de Blasio & NY City Council Condemnation of Boycotts for Palestinian Human Rights

 August 31, 2016

The New York City Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace was dismayed last week to hear Mayor Bill de Blasio’s statement denouncing the grassroots, nonviolent, boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. Contrary to Mayor de Blasio’s assertion that BDS is somehow “ahistorical,” boycott campaigns in support of civil and human rights causes are a time-honored tool for social justice movements here in the US and around the world. Mayor de Blasio, a progressive leader on many other issues, should recognize this.

Mayor de Blasio’s comments come ahead of a New York City Council resolution condemning boycotts related to Israeli human rights abuses, expected to be introduced next week. According to Politico NY, the City Council’s Committee on Contracts is scheduled to consider a resolution on September 8th that would condemn BDS campaigns.

Mayor de Blasio is increasingly out of step with Americans of all political stripes, including progressives and many of his constituents, who support the use of boycotts to pressure Israel to stop violating Palestinian human rights. A poll released by the Brookings Institution in December showed that 49% of Democrats recommend imposing economic sanctions against Israel or taking more serious action in response to the construction of illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

BDS is deeply rooted in progressive values of freedom, justice, and equality, and was inspired by the US Civil Rights and South African anti-apartheid movements. As supporters of BDS, we endorse the Palestinian civil society call for economic pressure on Israel until it complies with international law and grants Palestinians their freedom. We will continue to support BDS until Israel ends its brutal, nearly 50-year- old military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, and ends its grave human rights violations against the Palestinian people.

Jewish Voice for Peace is the fastest growing Jewish organization in the country with over 200,000 members and supporters and over 60 chapters across the United States. The New York City chapter of JVP proudly continues to stand with Palestinian civil society and the growing number of Americans who demand freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.