It’s difficult to explain what’s happening in New York without sounding hyperbolic, but really, the sky might indeed be falling for freedom of speech and/or BDS supporters in the U.S. With support from AIPAC and Israeli officials, New York Governor Cuomo issued a devastating anti-BDS executive order this week requiring a black list to be created of entities that are involved in the “BDS campaign against Israel coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee.” That kind of pulls the rug out from under the feet of a strong coalition that has very effectively mobilized against several anti-BDS bills in state legislatures. Gov. Cuomo is totally within his authority to issue an order, and the state legislature can’t legislate it away even if it wanted to – only the courts or a present/future Governor can overturn it. So the use of an Executive Order freezes out all the advocacy strategies that don’t directly influence the Governor. To put it plainly, Andrew Cuomo just stripped New York residents of their right to free speech (boycotts are protected form of speech and a cherished part of the American tradition). We’re joining the many advocates trying to figure out the best strategy to undo the damage already done.

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