(JTA) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The order signed Sunday, hours before the start of New York’s annual Celebrate Israel Parade, will require state agencies to divest themselves of companies and organizations aligned with the BDS movement.
Cuomo said at the signing at the Harvard Club in Manhattan that New York is Israel’s “true friend.”
“And it’s very simple. If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you,” he said. “If you divert revenues from Israel, New York will divert revenues from you. If you sanction Israel, New York will sanction you. Period.”
New York is the first state in which the governor has taken executive action against the BDS movement. Several state legislatures have passed anti-BDS legislation, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and South Carolina. In total, 21 states have taken up anti-BDS legislation.
Cuomo, a Democrat, criticized elements of his party that have taken stands perceived as being against Israel.
“As a Democrat, I always took for granted that there was a natural relationship with Israel that was unquestionable,” Cuomo said. “You now have aspects of the Democratic Party that are being critical of Israel as being disproportionate in its response.”
Alphonso David, counsel to the governor, told The New York Times before the signing that he expects the number of companies that do business with the state that endorse or are engaged in the BDS movement to be “quite significant.”