New York Assemblyman: Dissolve Tax-Exempt Non-Profits Supporting ‘Occupation’ Of ‘Palestinian West Bank’

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NEW YORK (VINnews) — In a BDS-style anti-Israel proposal, New York Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani has introduced legislation that would target tax-exempt charities that provide money to Israeli settler organizations.

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Dubbed the “Not on our dime!: Ending New York Funding of Israeli Settler Violence Act,” the bill would give the state attorney general the authority to dissolve any nonprofit organization found to be using tax-deductible donations to support organizations that aid in the “occupation” of the “Palestinian West Bank.” Although the United States government takes no official position on the Israeli occupation, the U.N. has repeatedly declared that Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate international law, including the Geneva Conventions.

“There’s this example of New York state lagging behind international law, lagging behind U.S. foreign policy,” Mamdani, a democratic socialist, told the City & State media site. “And this legislation is intended to bridge that gap and make it clear that New York will not continue to effectively subsidize war crimes.”

Some of the causes which could be affected by this bill include the Kohelet forum which is behind the current Israeli judicial reforms, since its director Moshe Koppel receives his salary from the Central Fund of Israel, an American pro-right-wing fund which supports numerous activities in Judea and Samaria. Friends of Ir David and the Israel Land fund which assist construction in the City of David and Nahalat Shimon respectively could also be hit by the new legislation.

Mamdani said that he introduced the bill after various groups reached out to his office to voice their concern regarding reports that found New York-based charities were sending around $60 million a year to organizations that assist in the settlement activity of the Israeli government deemed illegal by the international community. He said that the bill is “very clear and very targeted” and asserted that those opposed to it have mischaracterized what it would actually do.

Mamdani said that the bill is specifically focused on the actions of charities and their funding of settler organizations. Mamdani claimed that the bill is not tied to BDS activities, which are not legitimate in New York state after Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order in 2016 directing the state to divest all assets from organizations engaged with the BDS movement.

Mamdani’s bill has received support from the Democratic Socialists of America and is backed by many of his fellow members of the Socialists in Office caucus. Assembly Members Sarahana Shrestha, Phara Souffrant Forrest and Marcela Mitaynes are listed as co-sponsors of Mamdani’s bill, and state Sen. Jabari Brisport has introduced a Senate version of the bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Kristen Gonzalez.

Mamdani held a press conference on Wednesday in the Capitol to announce the legislation, where he was joined by advocates who back the bill. “I say with the fullness of my heart, not in our name, because Jews are not a monolith,” said Rosaline Petchesky, a member of the progressive group Jewish Voice for Peace. “We do not all support the state of Israel, we are not all Zionists, many take the position of supporting Palestinians and Palestinian human rights. And not on our damn dime is something we all should be supporting.” Mamdani was also joined by Diala Shamas, a senior staff attorney at the Center on Constitutional Rights, and Palestinian activist and journalist Basel Al-Adra.

The proposed legislation was met with swift backlash, and Democratic leadership in both the state Senate and Assembly issued statements promising that the bill would never come to a vote. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told the Jewish news outlet Forward that it is “a non-starter and it is not something we are considering.” A spokesperson for state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins echoed that sentiment on Twitter: “This is the same in the Senate, this bill is not moving and not something we would consider passing.”

Assembly Members Daniel Rosenthal and Nily Rozic, who are Jewish, also drafted a letter signed by 25 state lawmakers condemning the bill. “This bill is a ploy to demonize Jewish charities with connections to Israel,” the letter reads. “It was only introduced to antagonize pro-Israel New Yorkers and further sow divisions within the Democratic Party.” The letter does not mention Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Mamdani acknowledged that his legislation faces an uphill battle. “I have already received a phone call to my district office saying all Muslims should die and all Muslim lovers should be killed as well,” said Mamdani, who is Muslim. “This is the reality when you dare speak up about Palestine and Palestinians.” But he said that he has faith that organizing efforts will get more Democrats on their side despite the strong pushback and dismissals from legislative leaders.


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12 Comments
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anonymous
anonymous
1 year ago

Lets introduce “Not on our dime!” legislation for MTA increase in tolls, illegal immigrates , support for Ukraine , & on, & on !!!!

Victim
Victim
1 year ago

#Ezra

Freefacer
Freefacer
1 year ago

Amalek.
We have an obligation to destroy them.

hard at work yeshiva grad
hard at work yeshiva grad
1 year ago

jvp leftie losers are very good at hating their fellow jews and have perfected the art of holding up a sign with a scowling, serous face. they should join yaffed. perfect fit.