Four state legislators brought the fight against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to Albany on March 15, 2016.

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 combating the hateful and divisive fringe movement. Twelve state legislators attended the historic talk. Goldfeder recognized Eid and StandWithUs on the state floor:

“Here is New York, 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,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder “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,” 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,” said Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky. “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.”

“We thank Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder for spearheading this historic conference. It was important that the Assembly viewed The Middle East from Bassem’s 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 Goldfeder, Rozic, Kaminsky and Mosley demonstrated in standing up for Israel. StandWithUs will continue to partner with them and all lawmakers in their efforts to educate their fellow legislators about Israel and support efforts to pass legislation against BDS,” said Avi Posnick, Managing Director, New York Chapter of StandWithUs.

Jerusalem-based analyst and expert commentator in Arab and Palestinian affairs, Bassem 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 criticized the BDS movement and provided state legislators an insider’s perspective of how Palestinian civilians regard BDS and their relationship with Israel.

Eid focused 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 [BDS] is one of the most dangerous movements 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 doing that, 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,” he said.

The legislators credited StandWithUs and New York Managing Director Avi Posnick for helping bring Eid to Albany. StandWithUs (SWU) is a fourteen year-old, international Israel education organization that supports people around the world who want to educate their campuses and communities about Israel. Based in Los Angeles, SWU has chapters throughout the United States including News, in Israel, Canada and the UK.

In recent years, Goldfeder, Rozic, Kaminsky and Mosley led efforts in the Assembly to promote the security of Israel through a number og 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 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.