State Senator Michael Gianaris.
(photo credit: NY SENATOR)
NEW YORK – State Sen. Michael Gianaris introduced a bill on Wednesday prohibiting New York State from entering in any contract with any company or individual involved the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement’s efforts against Israel.
“The goal is to make a strong statement that New York stands with Israel and that any efforts to undermine the legitimacy of our strongest ally in the region will not be successful,” Gianaris told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
He added that this bill is of particular importance since there has been a “disturbing increase” in anti-Semitic activity in New York and elsewhere in the United States.
According to him anti-Semitic violations in New York alone have increased by 21 percent over recent months.
The senator stressed the importance of tackling the BDS movement as “the root” of this violence.
“When one scratches the surface of the movement, it can be exposed for really being an effort to undermine the nation of Israel around the world,” he told the Post. “The BDS movement is something we need to make a statement about before it becomes too widespread.”
Just a few days before US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gianaris said that despite disagreements over the past year between the two leaders, keeping a strong relationship is in the interest of both countries.
“History gives us good examples of the relationship getting better or getting worse based on particular administrations and individuals but overall the arc of history shows that the United States and Israel are very close allies,” he said. “As the world is getting more dangerous, friends need to stick together.”
The senator said he is hopeful the bill will pass with bipartisan support. Similar legislations have been introduced in other US states in the past years such as Illinois, South Carolina and Ohio.