Sadly, Governor Cuomo’s recent Executive Order punishing BDS supporters shows that he is more interested in pandering to a small segment of his constituency rather than supporting honest, open, and free political speech. Boycotts have always been a powerful vehicle for expressing political views and fostering change. Our nation has a long tradition of boycotts beginning with the boycott of British products which helped to spark the Revolutionary War which led to our independence. Recent boycotts have helped secure civil rights, labor rights, women's rights, and animal rights. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is a non-violent call to address the deprivation of Palestinian human rights. BDS calls for the end of Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land. BDS calls for equal treatment of both Israelis and Palestinians. Lastly, BDS calls for the return of land, farms, and homes which were stolen from Palestinians. In recent years BDS has gained momentum and hopefully this peaceful movement will result in changes to Israel's apartheid policies. Governor Cuomo’s wrongheaded attempt at curtailing our First Amendment right of free speech (which includes the blacklisting of boycotters) is not only disgraceful and unconstitutional, it is downright embarrassing. I wonder if this shameless and illegal behavior by an elected official is grounds for impeachment? In a state with such rampant corruption among elected officials perhaps it is not so surprising that Governor Cuomo would stoop so low. Hopefully, the Governor will see the error in his ways and rescind the order.
Eli Kassirer New Paltz, NY