New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo returns to Israel for another three-day solidarity visit beginning this Wednesday, he announced Monday.
Speaking in an interview on WAMC Northeast Public Radio, the governor spoke about the importance of Israel as a trade partner and described the meetings planned for the visit, which include talks on economics, drone technology and navigation systems – and anti-Semitism.
It’s not the first time that Cuomo has flown to the Jewish State when Israelis have faced pressure on the borders. In 2014, the governor didn’t hesitate to board a plane for Israel to show his solidarity with the Jewish State.
Cuomo arrived in Jerusalem while Operation Protective Edge – the summer war with Hamas in Gaza – was still in progress, and missiles were still exploding in all areas of southern and central Israel, including a few that landed around Jerusalem itself.
“I’m very close and New Yorkers are very close to Israel,” Cuomo said Monday. There has been a rash of anti-Semitism all across this country – the synagogue shootings, etc. We’ve had it in this state, all across this state, and it’s repugnant to what New Yorkers believe and feel… I hope there is a message of solidarity and partnership in my trip to Israel and I hope the Jewish community here is confident in this state’s position vis-a-vis Israel,” he said.
Cuomo noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a close ally of President Donald Trump, and said he believes the two “may have a coincidence of interests. But look, you have political differences and we can sit here and say we politically differ with Israel’s policies on whatever issue. But how does that transfer into hate and antisemitism?
“I understand we have an overheated political environment in this country, but we also have a constitution and legacy of accepting and living together and accepting diversity. The Jewish community is a central part of the State of New York.
“So you want to have a political difference with Israel? Be my guest — but you have no right to turn that into anti-Semitism,” Cuomo said.
Israeli Consul-General Dani Dayan, whose office is in New York City, said he will accompany Cuomo on the visit.
“I am very much looking forward to joining Governor Cuomo on this visit to Israel and applaud him for taking this important step in solidarity with the Jewish community,” Dayan said in a statement.
“Governor Cuomo sets an example to leaders all over the world who are battling increasing anti-Semitism in their communities. We cannot ignore the spread of this dangerous disease: We must face it head-on, making it clear once and for all that it will not be tolerated.”