Today, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) sent a letter to Mr. Andrew Yang concerning his column in The Forward regarding his “vision for New York City’s Jewish community”. In his column, Mr. Yang made the following statement about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement;
“A Yang administration will push back against the BDS movement, which singles out Israel for unfair economic punishment. Not only is BDS rooted in antisemitic thought and history, hearkening back to fascist boycotts of Jewish businesses, it’s also a direct shot at New York City’s economy…”
The assertion that the BDS Movement is rooted in antisemitic thought and history is not only wrong and mistaken – it is an abhorrent attempt to demononize, marginalize and silence millions of peaceful, dissenting voices. It is also a complete erasure of a system of apartheid which targetts Palestinians treating them as second class citizens. Mr. Yang’s statement misunderstands the BDS movement and its peaceful goals. It wrongfully attacks anyone who dares speak out against Israel’s racist and violent policies. BDS does not target Jewish owned businesses, rather it targets businesses that are complicit in the apartheid against Palestinians regardless of religion, race or national origin.
In the letter, ADC demands that Mr. Yang redact and apologize for his statement about BDS. ADC explained that it is extremely harmful to Palestinains and their efforts towards freedom from occupation and apartheid to silence even the most peaceful form of protest. It is imperative that Mr. Yang meet with New York Palestinians and hear from them directly. We need to move past these harmful narratives against Palestinians and embrace the facts and realties — Israel is an apartheid state, and BDS is a peaceful movement fighting this apartheid.
ADC will continue to monitor this matter, and call all candidates for public office to not use similar rhetoric during their campaigns.