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"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance, it only organizes hatred."
I can’t help but recall the beloved Saturday morning cartoons of our
youth, in particular the Super Friends, when our superheroes were
transported to the world of Bizarro. There, Superman and friends found
themselves in a place where everything is the opposite, and where,
curiously enough, its citizens willingly accept this inverted reality as
Sadly, sometimes politics is a lot like Bizarro, especially when
political correctness has been allowed to run amok. Case in point is the
so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that has gained
momentum in recent years. Started in 2005 by Palestinian organizations in
the West Bank, it seeks to “impose broad boycotts and implement divestment
initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the
apartheid effort.” It supposedly seeks an end to Israel’s occupation of
the territory it secured when it was attacked in 1967, an area that remains
a breeding ground for violence against it even today.
But let’s be clear. Israel in no way, shape, or form remotely
resembles South Africa or shares the history of those human rights abuses.
While the ancient disputes in the Middle East are certainly genuine and
complex, the BDS effort is, at best, veiled anti-Semitism that has been
embraced by the politically correct bandwagon. And while people are
entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts,
so let’s take a look at them.
· Israel’s Declaration of Independence ensures Arab inhabitants
“full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its
provisional and permanent institutions.”
· In 1948, all Israel’s Arab inhabitants were give citizenship.
Today, they make up 20% of Israel’s population.
· It is illegal to discriminate against Arabs at any level of
Israeli society, and in fact, Arabs hold many government
positions there, including serving on their Supreme Court.
· Israeli Arabs have their own political parties and serve in the
legislative body, the Knesset. They also hold positions in all
of Israel’s major political parties.
· A full 20% of students at Israel’s universities are Arabs, and
Arab professors conduct research and teach at these
universities as well.
· Arabic is an official language in Israel and more than 300,000
Arab children attend Israeli schools.
I could go on but the argument is obvious: Can this seriously be
compared to Apartheid in South Africa? It cannot. Therefore it is simply
inexcusable that Israel endure boycotts by those who seek only to undermine
American support for her or by those who are plainly ignorant of these
That’s why along with Simcha Felder, a Democrat from Brooklyn, I’ve
recently sponsored Anti-BDS legislation in the New York State Senate. My
bill would prohibit New York from doing business with any individual or
business that promotes or engages in boycotts, sanctions, or divestment in
Israel or other allied nations. In essence, it prevents us from becoming
unwilling participants in a discriminatory agenda and it sends a very clear
message to the world: New York supports those who have supported us.
Thankfully this legislation has already passed in our state Senate and I
hope that our Assembly and Governor will act quickly to approve it as well.
Several other states including California, Florida, Illinois, and South
Carolina have already passed similar legislation.
My friends, the facts speak for themselves. It’s clear that the BDS
movement is not a response to any actual apartheid-like conditions but
rather a concerted effort to undermine American support for Israel, in
particular among young people who might be quick to support anything
labeled “politically correct.” That’s not only dangerous to Israel but it
also jeopardizes the peace that a two-state solution promises the region.
In the end, nothing is accomplished when we invert and mislabel the truth.
Hopefully, New York can help set the record straight. We must choose to
stand against hatred.