Nassau Assemblymember Charles Lavine (D-North Shore) is speaking out against a proposed bill in the New York State Assembly that would prohibit not-for-profit corporations from supporting Israel’s settlement activity as an example of demagoguery
Assembly Bill A6943, also known as the “Not on our dime!: Ending New York funding of Israeli settler violence act,” is being sponsored by Assemblymember Zohran Kwame Mamdani (D-Astoria) and co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Sarahana Shrestha (D-Esopus), Phara Souffrant Forrest (D-Fort Greene) and Marcela Mitaynes (D-Sunset Park).
If passed, it would allow the New York State attorney general and private individuals to sue for damages anyone that sends money to Israel, Lavine said.
“The bill is designed to punish those who are sending money or providing help to establish the settlements on the West Bank,” Lavine said. “That is however a ruse.”
He provided an example that if he were to donate to the Jewish National Fund, which supports not-for-profits in Israel, that means anyone could sue him for upwards of $1 million.
Lavine compared the bill’s allowance for anyone to sue others for monetarily supporting Israel to Texas’ law that allows individuals to file civil lawsuits against those involved in providing or assisting in an abortion.
“These private rights of action are very dangerous precedents to set,” Lavine said.
Lavine said that while this bill is “pretending” to be one that will alleviate tensions in the Middle East, it will instead make things worse.
“The Palestinians have been victimized enough by politicians over the years, unfortunately, but this is in no way going to help mitigate whatever tensions exist in the Middle East,” Lavine.
He called the bill an example of demagoguery, or political action that appeals to prejudices instead of rationality, referring to it as “anti-Israel.”
Lavine said it is being introduced for the bill sponsors to “make a splash at the expense of the Palestinians and also at the expense of anyone who contributes to any charities that are involved in Israel.”
He said this bill is “dead on arrival,” as it was determined immediately that the measure would not be passed by the majority.
Regardless, Lavine said he is still speaking out against the bill as it is time for political leaders to stand up against this sort of action, whether it is coming from what he identified as the Trump faction or the “so-called socialists.”
“We have seen so-called ‘populists’ enflame people’s passions and appeal to their base instincts, and that is one of the reasons why antisemitic incidents are at an appalling level, along with hatred of everyone who is ‘the other,’” Lavine said. “It’s about time we take a stand against this sort of base appeal towards people’s prejudices. We will be doomed if we don’t.”
He said getting residents involved in this action starts with knowledge in order to make the public aware of the issues at hand.