Hempstead Town Fights Back Against BDS Movement; Adopts Legislation to Prohibit Town Contracts with Individuals, Companies that Boycott America, Israel, Allies

Leading the way in a growing nation-wide effort to stand firmly opposed to the BDS Movement – which attempts to isolate Israel and other U.S. allies from the international community – Supervisor Anthony J. Santino, Councilman Bruce Blakeman, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and the entire Hempstead Town Board unanimously adopted legislation that prohibits town government from doing business with individuals or companies that openly boycott against America, Israel and other allies. The Town of Hempstead is among the first municipalities in New York State to pass anti-BDS legislation, and will ensure that the town will only contract with entrepreneurs who are friendly and reject acts of hate and economic hostility. 

“The Town of Hempstead stands wholly opposed to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which openly discriminates against the United States, Israel and our other allies around the world,” stated Supervisor Santino. “As the largest township in the United States, adopting this anti-BDS legislation sends a strong message that our communities will not tolerate bigotry and anti-Semitism.”

“I applaud Supervisor Santino for his leadership in helping to protect residents, especially those in the Five Towns community, from hostile businesses and individuals,” said Councilman Blakeman, who has recently met with high-level government and military officials in Israel. Added Councilman D’Esposito, “The Town of Hempstead will not tolerate anti-Semitism and hate speech, and I am proud to partner with Supervisor Santino and Councilman Blakeman to stand up for our communities.”

The law requires individuals or companies seeking to do business with the town to submit a certification that they do not – and will not for the duration of the contract – engage in a boycott of the United States of America and its allies, which include Israel, all NATO member nations, signatories of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization, signatories of the Rio Treaty of 1947 (excluding Venezuela), Ireland, Japan, and The Republic of Korea. Violations of this law could result in the town rescinding a contract.

 On May 18th, Supervisor Santino, Councilman Blakeman and Councilman D’Esposito stood in solidarity at Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, along with a cadre of area rabbis and religious leaders, Five Towns business owners and other officials to speak out against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Town officials and others slammed the movement as anti-Semitic and an attack on economic cooperation between the United States and Israel, as well as other allies. The leaders also decried the movement’s highly organized campaign that has acutely targeted Israel, seeking to undermine the nation’s sovereignty. Supervisor Santino, along with Councilmen Blakemen and D’Esposito, held a May 17th conference call with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely to discuss this important matter. The Deputy Foreign Minister thanked town officials for their support in fighting the BDS movement.

Supervisor Santino and Councilman Blakeman have been committed to combating incidents of discrimination and hate speech in local communities. Last year, responding to an airplane flying a swastika banner over town beaches, the town called on New York State to strengthen laws prohibiting the display of swastikas in public places. The town also partners with law enforcement organizations and religious institutions in responding to hateful graffiti and vandalism of houses of worship and other locations.

“This important legislation will ensure that the Town of Hempstead will never conduct business with companies that are hostile to the United States, Israel and other American allies,” concluded Santino. “We hope that other local municipalities will follow in the town’s footsteps to stand against the BDS movement.”