Protests erupted during a New York City Council hearing on an anti-BDS bill — so much so that City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal called for the crowd to take a “deep yoga breath.”
Dozens of people were forced out of the hearing on a resolution to condemn “all efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel,” the Daily News reports.
While @NYCCouncil discusses anti-#BDS resolution #Israel haters disrupt - again showing their childish tactics pic.twitter.com/L4tknYSnDN— StandWithUs (@StandWithUs) September 8, 2016
The measure claims that BDS targets not only Israeli policy and the occupation of Palestinian lands, but a number of other facets of daily life, including culture and academics.
City Councilman Rory Lancman, one of the resolution’s 33 supporters, called BDS a “suppression of viewpoints and free speech.” Mayor Bill de Blasio has also spoken out strongly against BDS.
Opponents argued that the proposed resolution puts a kibosh on free speech, and that the committee misunderstands the intentions of the BDS movement.
One member was confused why the hearing was even happening in the first place.
“The fact that members of the New York City Council want to engage on a divisive issue that has no direct impact on New Yorkers at a time when they should be bringing New Yorkers together is, in my opinion, irresponsible,” Linda Sarsour, director of the Arab American Association of New York, told the New York Post.
The resolution will have a committee vote by the end of this month, before being brought to the full City council.
Thea Glassman is a Multimedia Fellow at the Forward. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org on on Twitter at @theakglassman.