A progressive seeking the Democratic nomination for the open seat in Congress in New York’s newly drawn District 10 doubled down on her defense of an Israel boycott during a candidates forum Tuesday night organized by Jewish groups.
“I support the BDS movement’s right to political speech,” State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou said in response to a question put to the candidates by one of the moderators, Rabbi Rachel Timoner of Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn. “This includes boycotts and economic pressure, which has been targeted by laws that undermine core First Amendment principles.”
Niou, who is endorsed by the Working Families Party and one of the frontrunners of the race, had previously told Jewish Insider that she supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — a statement that caused her to lose an endorsement from a fellow Assembly member.
In her question to Niou and the other candidates, Timoner, who is also co-founder of New York Jewish Agenda, a Jewish progressive political group, said: “Many people are not aware that the BDS movement’s purpose is not only to apply pressure on Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank, but to seek the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.”
The candidates also fielded questions about responding to a rise in antisemitic crime and standing up to conservatives.
Goldman, who is Jewish and served as lead majority counsel in the first impeachment of Donald Trump, linked the rise of antisemitism to the former president, calling him the inspiration for rising hate crimes in this country. “One thing that we cannot allow to happen is for him to become president again in 2024,” he said.
Timoner also asked a question about where candidates stood on religious “liberty,” which conservatives have invoked to advocate for exemptions from vaccine mandates and wide latitude for private schools, including yeshivas, to set their own curriculums.
All candidates offered their support for yeshivas, while advocating for uniform standards for teaching secular subjects in the religious schools.