Assembly Members Goldfeder, Rozic, Kaminsky, Mosley join pro-Israel group StandWithUs in organizing Albany conference to highlight state legislature’s effort in fighting hateful and divisive Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement
Conference features keynote speech by prominent Palestinian activist and BDS critic Bassem Eid, founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group
Albany, N.Y. —Â Four state legislators brought the fight against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to Albany last week. On March 15th, Assembly members Phil Goldfeder (Far Rockaway), Nily Rozic (Fresh Meadows), Todd Kaminsky (Cedarhurst) and Walter Mosley (Crown Heights) joined the pro-Israel group StandWithUs in holding a conference at the State Capitol entitled “New York Stands With Israel.” The historic event featured a talk by prominent Palestinian activist and BDS critic Bassem Eid, and highlighted the state legislature’s role in combatting the hateful and divisive fringe movement.
“Here in New York State we have a long history of supporting the Nation of Israel and its people. It’s an honor and privilege to continue this proud tradition by joining my colleagues and StandWithUs in bringing Bassem Eid to Albany,”Â said Assemblyman Phil GoldfederÂ “As the BDS movement continues to spew lies and hatred, we will take every step necessary in the legislature to fight them and ensure that Israel remains a home to the Jewish people and a strong, democratic ally of the United States.”
“As lawmakers, we have an opportunity to speak out against the BDS movement and any attempt to delegitimize Israel as a sovereign, democratic and Jewish state. I am glad to have joined my colleagues in hosting a discussion on Albany’s role in combatting the movement and any threat against the security of New Yorkers,”Â said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, the first Israeli-born member elected to the State Legislature.
“Israel is a crucial and loyal ally of the United States and an integral economic and strategic partner with New York State. Bound by a strong commitment to democracy and freedom, it is critical for us to do all we can to stand up for Israel and its citizens,”Â said Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky.Â “I was very proud to sponsor this conference in conjunction with Stand With Us and my fellow Assembly members to discuss Albany’s role in combatting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to cause damage to one of our nation’s closest allies. I stand with my colleagues and the people of Israel and will continue to do all I can to protect, defend and support the State of Israel.”
Â “We thank Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder for spearheading and for arranging for Bassem to brief the Assembly. It was important for the Assembly to hear from Bassem and see the Middle East from his view. As a Palestinian human rights activist who is against BDS and understands it is through cooperation with Israel that will improve the Palestinian economy, his unique perspective was very welcomed by those in attendance. We are grateful for the leadership Assembly Members Phil Goldfeder, Nily Rozic, Todd Kaminsky and Walter Mosley have shown when it comes to standing up for Israel. StandWithUs will continue to partner with members of the Assembly to help them educate their fellow members about Israel and we support the efforts of the Assembly Members to pass legislation against BDS,” said Avi Posnick, Managing Director, New York Chapter of StandWithUs.
Billed as an opportunity to discuss the legislature’s role in combatting the BDS movement, the “New York Stands With Israel” conference brought state elected officials and leading pro-Israel advocates together to build on recent efforts in Albany to support the nation of Israel and its people. The conference was attended by over a dozen elected officials and featured a keynote address by prominent Palestinian activist Bassem Eid.
A Jerusalem-based analyst and expert commentator in Arab and Palestinian affairs, Eid founded the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group in 1996 to monitor abuses committed by the Palestinian Authority and promote a democratic and pluralistic Palestinian territories. Eid spoke at the conference about his criticisms of the BDS movement and gave the state legislators an insider’s perspective of how the Palestinians feel about BDS and their relationship with Israel.
Eid focused much of his talk on the deep economic link between Israelis and Palestinians, noting that many Israeli companies employ Palestinian workers and that Palestinian construction workers have helped contribute the country’s unprecedented growth in recent years. According to the U.S. Government, trade between Israel and the Palestinian territories accounts for 72% of total Palestinian imports and 90% of Palestinian exports. In forceful terms, Eid argued that, given this relationship, the BDS movement’s efforts to undermine the Israeli economy would have devastating consequences for Palestinians.
“As a Palestinian, I think [the BDS movement] is one of the most dangerous organizations involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I am a Palestinian who considers BDS as a prelude to genocide. I think that these people don’t just want to destroy the Israeli economy, but on their way to destroying the Israeli economy, they will destroy the Palestinian economy as well. Israeli businesses are a major source of income in Palestine. We are a people who want to survive. We are a people who want to guarantee the future of our own children,”Â said Bassem Eid, founder of theÂ Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group.
The legislators credited StandWithUs and Managing Director Avi Posnick for helping bring Eid to Albany for the conference. According to its website, the Los Angeles-based grassroots group is dedicated to informing the public about Israel and to combatting the extremism and anti-Semitism that often distorts the issues. To further these aims, StandWithUs regularly holds conferences and speaking events at college campuses and in communities throughout the world.
In recent years, Goldfeder, Rozic, Kaminsky and Mosley have led efforts in the Assembly to promote the security of Israel through a number legislative actions. Last year, the officials joined a majority of assembly members in signing onto a resolution condemning the BDS movement and reaffirming Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state. Most recently, the legislators have sponsored a bill to continue New York State sanctions levied against businesses supporting Iranian nuclear and energy sectors. Introduced in the wake of the Iran Nuclear Deal negotiated by the Obama administration, the bill would ensure New York’s longstanding role as a friend of Israel.