One-time presidential hopeful-turned-mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has chosen sides in the deadly Israel-Palestine conflict.
Choosing the establishment point of view, Yang said he’s standing with Israel and he compared the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to “fascist” anti-Jewish campaigns, Middle East Eye reported.
The airstrikes from Israel began after Hamas issued an ultimatum demanding that Israel stand down its security forces from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem following days of violence against Palestinians, Al Jazeera reported. More than 700 Palestinians have been attacked in Jerusalem and across the occupied West Bank in recent days.
On May 10, Israeli police stormed the compound for a third consecutive day, attacking Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque in the final days of the holy month of Ramadan.
The death toll stands at 35 Palestinians – including 10 children – as Israel’s bombardment of Gaza Strip continues to escalate, marking the most intense airstrikes in Gaza since the bombardment in 2014, Al Jazeera reported. At least five people in Israel have also been killed and at least 233 injured.
Hamas, which rules Gaza, announced that it launched 200 rockets on Israel in response to strikes on a building in Gaza.
Yang wrote in the Jewish American webzine Forward that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is similar “to fascist boycotts of Jewish businesses” in the past. A Yang administration will push back against the BDS movement, which singles out Israel for unfair economic punishment,” Yang wrote. He is running for mayor of New York City.
“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,” he said.
Several progressive American Jewish advocacy groups have spoken out against Yang’s statements, including IfNotNow, an American Jewish organization that works to end support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Yang tweeted his stance for Israel, “I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists. The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere.”
Twitter has plenty to say.
“There’s no such thing as ‘hands off’ when you’re giving one side $3.8 billion a year in military aid. There’s just deciding that Palestinian lives don’t matter,” Foreign Policy Advisor for Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders Matt Duss @mattduss tweeted.
Some accused Yang of playing to the voting bloc in New York City, where Jews comprise approximately 13 percent of the population, making the Jewish community the largest in the world outside of Israel, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. As of 2014, 1.1 million Jews live in the five boroughs of New York City.
Marc Lamont Hill, Temple University professor and host of BET News Black News Tonight, tweeted on Yang’s comment: “This is a disgustingly cynical move. You’ve said nothing about Sheikh Jarrah. Nothing about evictions. Nothing about the gross violations of human rights and international law. Nothing about the violence of an occupying force. You are awful.”
Joe Kelly @joekellyca remarked, “Sadly, there are some politicians of Asian descent like Andrew Yang, and Priti Patel in England, who love the comforts of the master’s house all too well. They love the master’s house more than they love themselves, let alone sparing a thought for Palestinian homes and lives.”
The 15-year-old BDS movement was inspired by the South African movement credited with ending apartheid in the 1990s. The BDS urges individuals, nations, and organizations to boycott Israel over what it says are violations of international law and human rights oppression.
“It does not target Jewish-owned companies, or any company, in the United States or elsewhere that does not have links to Israel, despite Yang’s insinuation that BDS negatively affects New York’s ‘small businesses,” Middle East Eye reported.
Protesters in South Africa spoke out on May 10 against Israeli attacks on Palestinians. South Africa openly supports the Palestinian cause with formal diplomatic relations established in 1995, France 24 reported.
More than 130 other countries recognize Palestine as a sovereign state.
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