State Agencies and Authorities Ordered to Divest Public Funding Supporting Boycotts Divestment Sanctions MovementClick Here to View the Signed Executive Order
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued Executive Order No. 157 directing state entities to divest all public funds supporting the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. The first-in-the-nation action will ensure that no state agency or authority engages in or promotes any investment activity that would further the harmful and discriminatory Palestinian-backed Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in New York State. The Governor made the announcement at the Celebrate Israel Parade.
“New York stands in solidarity with Israel today and always. This state will not stand for the politics of discrimination in any form, and we will continue to demonstrate our unwavering support for the people of Israel in the fight for freedom, liberty and democracy,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m proud to sign this nation’s leading executive order, which will help protect Israel from the threat of divestment. This order sends the message that this state will do everything in its power to end this hateful, intolerant campaign. New York and Israel share an unbreakable bond and I pray that the Israeli and Palestinian people will find a way to live side by side and find peace, prosperity and security.”
In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for a Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. The movement is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee. By eroding confidence in Israel’s legitimacy, the BDS campaign is intended to inflict economic harm, or limit commercial relations, and ultimately weaken or undermine the State of Israel.
The BDS campaign urges many damaging actions against Israel, including:
- Calling for a complete boycott of Israeli products and companies;
- Promoting divestment actions targeting organizations such as endowed universities or churches, and high-profile businesses with large financial holdings in companies supporting Israel; and
- Urging sanctions against Israel in a direct attempt to harm the economic viability of the State.
To continue fighting the BDS campaign even further, Governor Cuomo has been named as the Co-Chair of the American Jewish Committee’s Governors against BDS initiative. For more than a century, the American Jewish Committee has been the leading global Jewish advocacy organization. With offices across the United States and around the globe, and partnerships with Jewish communities worldwide, it works to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and to advance human rights and democratic values for all.
Governor Cuomo has long stood with Israel. In 2014, the Governor led a unity trip to Israel in demonstration of solidarity with the State. During the two-day trip, the Governor met with various Israeli government officials, and those impacted by the conflict. Today, New York is home to more than 1.7 million Jews, representing the largest Jewish community outside of Israel in the world. Photos of the Governor’s trip to Israel can be viewed here.
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 157
E X E C U T I V E O R D E R
DIRECTING STATE AGENCIES AND AUTHORITIES TO DIVEST PUBLIC FUNDS SUPPORTING BDS CAMPAIGN AGAINST ISRAEL
WHEREAS, the State of Israel is a critical and invaluable ally of the United States;
WHEREAS, the State of New York and Israel enjoy a special historical relationship and share a commonly forged cultural bond;
WHEREAS, the State of New York does not support boycott related tactics that are used to threaten the sovereignty and security of allies and trade partners of the United States;
WHEREAS, in 2005, elements of Palestinian civil society issued a call for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee;
WHEREAS, the State of New York unequivocally rejects the BDS campaign and stands firmly with Israel;
WHEREAS, the State of New York will not permit its own investment activity to further the BDS campaign in any way, shape or form, whether directly or indirectly;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ANDREW M. CUOMO, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:
A. “Affected State Entities” means (i) all agencies and departments over which the Governor has executive authority, and (ii) all public-benefit corporations, public authorities, boards, and commissions, for which the Governor appoints the Chair, the Chief Executive, or the majority of Board Members, except for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
B. “Boycott, divestment, or sanctions activity targeting Israel” means to engage in any activity, or promote others to engage in any activity, that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with Israel or persons doing business in Israel for purposes of coercing political action by, or imposing policy positions on, the government of Israel.
C. “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of the Office of General Services.
II. PUBLICLY AVAILABLE LIST OF BDS ASSETS
A. Not later than 180 days after the date of this Executive Order, the Commissioner shall develop a list of institutions and companies that the Commissioner determines, using credible information available to the public, participate in boycott, divestment, or sanctions activity targeting Israel, either directly or through a parent or subsidiary. Such list, when completed, shall be posted on the website of the Office of General Services.
B. The Commissioner shall update the list every 180 days.
C. Prior to placing any institution or company on the list, the Commissioner shall provide to the particular institution or company written notice of the Commissioner’s intent to include the institution or company on the list, and shall allow such institution or company a period of at least 90 days to present the Commissioner with evidence that the institution or company does not in fact participate in boycott, divestment, or sanctions activity targeting Israel, either directly or through a parent or subsidiary.
D. Where, pursuant to Section II(C) above, the Commissioner makes a good faith determination that the institution or company does not in fact engage in boycott, divestment, or sanctions activity targeting Israel, either directly or through a parent or subsidiary, the Commissioner shall not include the institution or company on the list.
E. An institution or company that has been included on the Commissioner’s list may request removal from the list by submitting written evidence to the Commissioner that the institution or company no longer participates in boycott, divestment, or sanctions activity targeting Israel, either directly or through a parent or subsidiary. If the Commissioner makes a good faith determination that the institution or company does in fact no longer participate in such activity, the Commissioner shall remove the institution or company from the list at the next opportunity pursuant to Section II(B) above.
III. DIVESTMENT OF CERTAIN PUBLIC FUNDS
A. All Affected State Entities are hereby directed to divest their money and assets from any investment in any institution or company that is included on the Commissioner’s list pursuant to Section II above.
B. This Executive Order shall not be construed to require the premature or otherwise imprudent divestment of money and assets, but Affected State Entities shall achieve compliance with the directive in Section III(A) above no later than one year after the issuance of this Executive Order.
IV. NO FURTHER INVESTMENTS IN BDS ASSETS
A. No money or assets shall be invested by any Affected State Entity in the future in any institution or company that is included on the Commissioner’s list pursuant to Section II above.
FURTHER, this Order shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect until further notice.