[Two days ago], a diverse group of about 150 New Yorkers protested in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Westchester County residence, calling on him to rescind his recent executive order attacking the grassroots boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) for Palestinian rights. Legal organizations like the New York Civil Liberties Union and Palestine Legal have stated that Governor Cuomo’s executive order threatens the Constitutional rights of all New Yorkers to engage in boycotts and other economic acts of conscience in support of human rights and social justice struggles.
The protesters marched from the Mount Kisco train station to Cuomo’s residence, holding signs saying, “We will continue to boycott for justice until Israel ends the brutal military occupation of Palestine,” and “Right to Boycott,” and chanting “Andrew Cuomo, what a shame, playing Joe McCarthy’s game.”Hundreds of interested passersby took flyers headlined, “Tell Governor Cuomo: rescind the executive order, we have the right to boycott for Palestinian freedom.” The protesters left behind a cardboard tombstone reading “RIP 1st Amendment” that they were promised will be delivered to Governor Cuomo.
Organized by the Freedom to Boycott NYS Coalition, which works with more than 100 community and human rights organizations throughout the state, today’s protest follows Governor Cuomo’s signing of a McCarthyite executive order on June 5, ordering state agencies to divest from organizations that support the Palestinian call to boycott and divest from companies and academic and cultural institutions profiting from or complicit in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and violations of international law.
Further, the order requires the creation of a publicly available blacklist of all companies and institutions that support using boycotts to bring about justice for Palestinians. The Coalition also organized a June 9 protest at Cuomo’s Manhattan office, and a June 15 protest at the State Capital in Albany.