TEL AVIV – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed self-declared “progressives” who support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel, saying that such outright rejection is not in line with progressive ideals.
Speaking during an event on Saturday at the Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, New York, de Blasio said: “There are plenty of people who support BDS who have advanced degrees and who call themselves progressives. I look forward to challenging them, because it’s ahistorical.”
“We, in the United States, or in any nation, you can disagree with a particular government’s policy at that moment in time, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in that nation or its right to exist or its founding ideals,” he said.
“We must always learn the painful lessons of history and do something about it,” he added.
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement praising De Blasio’s remarks on Tuesday.
“The BDS movement and its campaigns, particularly across college campuses, have really put a damper on moderate and civil discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” ADL New York Regional Director Evan R. Bernstein said.
“Mayor De Blasio’s remarks are also particularly important not just because of his prominent stature, but also because he is a proud progressive, and support for BDS has unfortunately been popular amongst progressive groups,” Bernstein added.
De Blasio, who has visited Israel numerous times during his mayorship, has been vocal in combating anti-Semitism and supporting the Jewish state.
In June, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order directing state agencies to divest public funds from companies and organizations aligned with the BDS movement.
Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie followed suit, signing a new law prohibiting the state’s public worker pension fund from investing in companies that promote BDS.
Over a dozen U.S. states have already adopted similar legislation this year.