MOSHE HILL OPINION COLUMNS MAY 24 2023
In a brazen move to attack nearly every single one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of synagogues and the millions of Jews in New York, Democratic Socialists in the New York State Legislature are trying to dissolve any non-profit that is monetarily associated with Israel.
The reach of this legislation will be unknown, because leadership in both political parties claim that it will never come up for a vote, but the community must be vigilant of the threats against us. Anyone watching the political landscape for the past few years should not feel reassured when Democrats told the public that a socialist’s plans would never come to fruition. The Green New Deal was laughed at in 2019, and yet was a major influence on Biden’s so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.” In February, the media laughed at the notion that gas stoves would be banned, and in May they were. In 2008, Barack Obama was in favor of traditional marriage. Now there is no elected Democrat in the country who can define the word “woman.” Political winds can shift in an instant.
The bill seeks to allow the Attorney General of the State of New York (currently Letitia James) to dissolve any not-for-profit if it engages in “unlawful support of Israeli settlement activity.” What is that activity? It includes “unlawful transfer of Israeli civilians into occupied territory,” “acts of violence committed by Israeli citizens against protected persons living in occupied territory,” “forced transfer or eviction of protected persons within occupied territory, or eviction from occupied territory,” or “appropriation, expropriation, seizure, destruction, demolition, dismantlement, or confiscation, in whole or in part, of private Palestinian land or residential, business, social, or public structures or infrastructure, inhabited or uninhabited.”
In layman’s terms: If any Israeli lives anywhere but the pre-1967 borders, if the Israeli Army goes after terrorists in Judea and Samaria, Gaza, or even East Jerusalem, or if the Israeli government protects its citizenry from the predations of these terrorist organizations that have been targeting the Israeli civilian population for over 50 years – that is “illegal settlement activity.” So, basically, any charity that supports the Israeli Army, victims of terrorism, or even builds a playground or finances a school in these areas means that the organization can be dissolved by the State of New York. This includes nearly every Jewish institution in New York.
The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani of Queens, who took the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez path to office: Find a deep-blue district and win the primary, because there is no competition from any Republican in the general election. Mamdani was born in Uganda and made his way to the United States to tell us how terrible our country is. He began calling himself a socialist during Bernie Sanders’ presidential run in 2016. He helped the Tiffany Cabán campaign for Queens District Attorney and was the founder of his college campus chapter of “Students for Justice in Palestine,” a radical Jew-hating group.
In the New York State Senate, the sponsor of the bill is Jabari Brisbort of Brooklyn, another Democratic Socialist who was inspired to run for office by Bernie Sanders and AOC. He was endorsed in his first State Senate run by those two, and in his second run by New York City Mayor Eric Adams. At a rally in March, Jabari falsely claimed that the US aid package to Israel is for “burning Palestinians in their homes” and blames that funding for lack of socialized universal healthcare and homelessness. Jabari either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that the funding is spent in the United States and is responsible for tens of thousands of jobs. The funding also allowed for the creation and implementation of Iron Dome, the single greatest giver of life to the Palestinians. Without Iron Dome, Israel would have been forced to take far harsher measures against the terrorist threat that exists on its borders.
This is not isolated. This bill is part of a growing trend of single-minded and punitive focus on Israel and its alleged “crimes.” None of these politicians have a word to say about the plight of China’s Uyghur population or any other atrocities around the world. This biased approach not only undermines the credibility of these politicians but also raises questions about their true motivations and values.
Another Democratic Socialist State Senator, Julia Salazar, exemplifies this monomaniacal obsession with Israel. Salazar went so far as to fabricate a false story about her Jewish heritage, seemingly to shield herself from accusations of anti-Semitism while continuing her obsessive criticism of Israel. It is alarming to witness someone exploiting her own identity for political gain, devaluing the significance of Jewishness and reducing it to a mere tool for political advantage.
Then there are the two New York City Council members, Shahana Hanif and Sandra Nurse, voting against a resolution to establish an “End Jew Hatred” day. The rejection of such an important resolution is a clear warning sign about the anti-Israel rhetoric and policies embraced by the next generation of New York Democrats. The refusal to acknowledge the need to combat anti-Semitism highlights a troubling alignment with open Jew-hatred and a disregard for the concerns of the Jewish community.
Anyone who says that this is a small number of voices, a minority opinion, nothing to be worried about, has not been paying attention. New York State is home to over 2 million Jews, roughly 11% of its population. There are millions more people who support the State of Israel and recognize its uniqueness in the region and its significance as a US ally. Yet this is also the epicenter of the greatest hatred of the Jewish state and every Jew who lives within it, because whether these socialists admit it or not, if they had their way, every single Jew living in the homeland for the Jewish people would be dead. No one should let them forget that at the end of the day, that’s what they are advocating for. This bill is just trying to punish any Jew in New York for not wanting the same thing.