In less than a month we’ll commemorate Kristallnacht, that terrible two-day pogrom that saw Jewish homes and schools ransacked and over 1,000 shuls and 7,000 Jewish businesses burned or destroyed.
But it was more than two days of horror. Kristallnacht was immediately followed by economic and political sanctions against European Jews, which in turn were only a prelude to the unthinkable nightmare that would follow in the years ahead.
Today’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is nothing less than a political Kristallnacht. Those who promote BDS – who try to economically strangle the Jewish people living in Israel – share the same goals as the monsters who took sledgehammers to shuls and set fire to Jewish homes. Anyone fooled by the packaging is grossly naive.
The men and women who make up legislative bodies are many things (not all of them good) but naiveté is uncommon among those clever enough to gather petitions and run for elected office. When these elected officials cast their votes publicly, or abstain from doing so, there’s a reason they’ve taken a position, and constituents are best served by knowing how their representatives voted.
Recently, the New York City Council approved a nonbinding resolution (sponsored by Councilman Andy Cohen of the Bronx) to condemn the BDS movement against Israel. The resolution, which condemns “all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel,” passed in a 40-4 vote with six abstentions.
Good news? Yes, it’s good that 80 percent of the council, including the speaker, recognize the BDS movement for what it is. But then we have the 20 percent who voted against the resolution, or abstained. Those ten elected officials know exactly what they didn’t support… and what they would allow, if only tacitly.
How did your council member vote? You should find out. More, you should know how other elected officials stand on the BDS movement – a movement that apologists claim is “non-violent.” Those same non-violent adherents had to be removed twice from the City Council’s proceedings because they were incapable of comporting themselves in a civil manner. They are anything but non-violent when they attack Jewish students and professors on college campuses across the United States.
The good news is there are plenty of men and women of good conscience who are unwilling to stand by the political Kristallnacht of the BDS movement. My colleague Senator Jack Martins and I sponsored anti-BDS legislation that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law this past June. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently adopted anti-BDS legislation in his state, which passed both the State Senate and Assembly almost unanimously. In late August, the California State Assembly voted 60-0 to send an anti-BDS bill to the governor for approval. Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia have passed similar laws.
The United States is a great country, where good people certainly outnumber the bad. But let’s not be lulled into a sense of false security. The BDS movement – along with those who would leave Jews isolated and starved in Israel (and everywhere else, if they could) – is crouching at the door.State Senator Simcha Felder