June 5, 2016

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Signs First-in-the-Nation Executive Order Directing Divestment of Public Funds Supporting BDS Campaign Against Israel

TOP Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript:...

State Agencies and Authorities Ordered to Divest Public Funding Supporting Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement

Click Here to View the Signed Executive Order


This morning, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 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.

VIDEO of the Governor’s remarks is available on YouTube hereand in TV quality (h264, mp4) format here

AUDIO of the Governor’s remarks is available here

PHOTOS of the event and photos of Governor marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade will be available on the Governor’s Flickr page shortly. 

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is below: 

Thank you very much. Good morning to all of you. First, to Malcom Hoenlein, who for so many years has been such an outstanding leader. Literally, generations have learned from Malcom and he’s done a beautiful job and Steve Greenberg as his Chairman. Let’s give them a round of applause.

Consul General, what are we going to do without you when you leave? Can we appeal to someone and make you stay? How do we do that? Ido Aharoni has done such a magnificent job for Israel, but he’s been such a pleasure to have in New York on so many different levels and he’s been so kind in facilitating the relationship and so effective. Let’s give him a round of applause please. We also – Malcom did all the introductions – we also Congressman Jerry Nadler who’s with us, so I’d like to give him a round of applause.

Consul General mentioned our trip in 2014 to Israel, which at that time, Israel was under attack and that is precisely why we went at that time. It’s nice to have friends. It’s nice to have friends when times are good. It’s better to have friends when times are bad and a real friend comes when you’re under attack and 2014, Israel was under attack. Today, Israel is under attack on a different level and that’s the true test of friendship and New York is a true friend of Israel. We’ve shown it before, we’re going to show it again today and we’re going to show it every day in the future. So Consul General, thank you.

We have the Salute to Israel Parade today. I’m excited. I love the parade. It highlights part of what New York is all about. New York is a diverse state. New York is an international state. We have people from all over the world and it makes us different, frankly, more sophisticated when it comes to international relations because we live with the balance every day. Today, we salute Israel. First parade was 1964. Israel was 16 years old and we have been celebrating every year since.

When you think about Israel and New York, it is a story of intertwined histories, and common futures. I believe that. The connections between Israel and New York rival connections with any country. Literally. They are intense, they are cultural, they’re economic, they are spiritual, they are natural and they are symbiotic. And they have existed for a long, long time. You look at the connections historically, culturally -- in many ways it’s amazing. The words on the Statue of Liberty that guide the founding of this country, this state: “Give me your tired, your poor...” -- Emma Lazarus, written by a Manhattan Jew. David Ben-Gurion studied here in New York Public Library, that’s where he learned the lessons of American democracy, also found some time to meet a young nurse who he later married, but came to study and learn American democracy. So the connections go on and on. Yoni Netanyahu spent so much time in New York and that adaptation. First Israel flag sewn by a man from Harlem. All these connections, on every level, have drawn us to this point. 

I think it’s important to remember: not only do we have a history together, but we have a future together. Because especially today it is becoming clearer and clearer that we have a common enemy. Twenty years ago I went to sit with Shimon Peres. I was in Israel but I met with Shimon Peres, who, to me, has always been an inspirational, powerful figure and it was a very special meeting. He first chatted about my father and his knowledge of New York politics was unbelievable. Forget U.S. politics, New York politics I think he knew better than I did. And he had a special relationship with my father and he said about my father, “your father is not just” -- was governor at the time of New York–- “is not just political friend, he’s a friend here.” Which was very touching to me and very true. 

And he said twenty years ago to me, I’ll never forget, that “we have a common enemy and they come for us today, but they come for you tomorrow. They come for us today, but they come for you tomorrow.” We – Israel was more proximate, it was easier for them to get to Israel. We had the comfort of oceans. Travel wasn’t as easy, there wasn’t an Internet. But they come for us today and come for you tomorrow. This is before 9/11, this is before Madrid, this is before all the hate on social media. He was exactly right. That connection is true. We have learned that the alliance serves us both extraordinarily well. 

The iron dome in Israel – what a beautiful example of collaboration and what you can do when you collaborate. If you would describe to someone that system they would say, “it’s impossible.” But we did it together. Israel’s location is a strategic advantage for this nation. Israel’s knowledge of terrorism is a strategic advantage. We’re relative newcomers to this battle, but Israel has done it every day for decades. So I am surprised and saddened, in truth, that with the political turmoil in this country, there have been so many questions raised about our relationship with Israel and our support for Israel. I’m sad as a Democrat. As a Democrat, I always took for granted that there was a natural relationship with Israel that was unquestioned, and it was that way for many, many years. And it’s one of the things that gave us pride as Democrats. 

You now have aspects of the Democratic Party that are being critical of Israel as being disproportionate in its response. Don’t get me wrong -- I still think the Democratic Party and the leadership of the Democratic Party and the candidates of the Democratic Party are far and away stronger supporters of Israel than of any other party – not to get political. But to question Israel’s response saddens me. To question the situation they’re dealing with and the tenacity of their opponents misunderstands the situation. Consul General mentioned the tunnels that we went to see, and we went to Israel partially to publicize the tunnels, because they said in pictures what millions of words could not communicate. 

Look at the tenacity and the obsession of this enemy. That they would take funds, that frankly they could’ve better used on their people for fundamental services and construct miles of tunnels. And these tunnels, by the way are not just “we have a shovel, we dig a tunnel…” These are cement reinforced, electrical conduits. This just showed the determination, the single-mindedness, that these are people who are bent on destroying Israel. 

That is their purpose, and that is their primary purpose. How can you have a disproportionate response when you are dealing with an enemy who is obsessed and single-minded? By definition you can’t be disproportionate. And they will do everything that they can do, and they are. And as frightening as those tunnels are, and as radical as the mindset and obsessive as the mindset that built those tunnels, this BDS movement is in many ways more frightening, because what they’re saying is they’re not making a physical attack, they want to make an economic attack. And it’s not just radicals who are willing to build tunnels. They’re going to mainstream businesses across the world to generate a corporate, a corporate enemy for Israel and we cannot allow that to happen, period. 

Now, in New York, we believe that you lead by example, and I am very proud that the members of the legislature who are here in the assembly and the senate, both houses, have been grappling with this issue of BDS for weeks and for months, and we’ve had many, many conversations about it and I know their feelings. In New York, we’re also a place of action and passing legislation even when you have good intent can often be a tedious affair, let me say that. Tedious is fine, right? And we want to take immediate action because we want the world to know and we want Israel to know that we are on their side. 

Today, I’m going to sign an Executive Order that says very clearly, we are against the BDS movement, and it’s very simple. If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you. If you divert revenues from Israel, New York will divert revenues from you. If you sanction Israel, New York will sanction you, period. Thank you. 

We are against the BDS movement in every way. We are against companies that do it. We are against the promotion of it by companies and by entities. I am very proud to be the first governor in the United States of America to sign this Executive Order, and I encourage every governor in this country to sign such an Executive Order. 

New York, one of the great capacities of New York, is New York can lead by example and when New York does something, it’s a fair question for every elected official across the country. Why don’t you do what New York did?” That was true historically when we led all sorts of reforms, the women’s movement, the environmental rights movement, human rights movement. It was true when we passed marriage equality a few years ago, and I signed that bill, and the next week they went to every elected official across the country and said, “Well, New York, Governor Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality bill, would you?” They went to the Vice President and the President - the next week literally. New York signs this Executive Order today. It’s a fair question for every elected official. Why don’t you sign the same Executive Order? Why don’t you stand up for Israel? We want to know where you are, who you are and actions speak louder than words. Sign the Executive Order. 

We all pray for peace. New York prays for peace. Israel prays for peace. The world prays for peace. The difference is the best way to achieve peace is to have a strong Israel and make that the international statement, and that’s what we’re doing today. 

Thank you and God bless you. 

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Contact the Governor's Press Office