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Saturday, April 13, 2024

New bill proposed ending New York’s support for Israeli settlements

"Not on Our Dime!: Ending New York Funding of Israeli Settler Violence Act" seeks to uphold international law and human rights.

New York State Assembly member Zohran Mamdani has taken a bold step by proposing a groundbreaking legislation to tackle the issue of tax-deductible donations from New York-based charities supporting illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. With the introduction of the “Not on Our Dime!: Ending New York Funding of Israeli Settler Violence Act,” Mamdani aims to hold accountable not-for-profit organisations involved in funding activities that contravene international law and to ensure justice for Palestinians affected by settler organisations. While garnering support from human rights advocates, the bill has also faced opposition and criticism from some lawmakers.

Closing the Funding Loophole

The proposed legislation empowers the state attorney general to take legal action against not-for-profit organisations found to be using tax-deductible donations to support Israeli settlements deemed illegal under international law. By dissolving these organisations, the bill seeks to close the funding loophole that allows charities to indirectly contribute to human rights violations. This move aims to ensure that New York State does not unwittingly support activities that violate the Geneva Convention.

Read More: Unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine

Holding Violators Accountable

The “Not on Our Dime!” bill also grants Palestinians adversely affected by settler organisations funded by New York-based charities the right to seek damages in American courts. This provision enables those impacted by the actions of such organisations to pursue legal recourse and obtain justice. By providing a legal avenue for Palestinians to seek reparations, the bill emphasises the importance of accountability and the protection of human rights.

Upholding International Law

Assembly member Mamdani has highlighted the urgent need for New York State to align its contributions with international law. Charities registered in New York currently send more than $60 million annually to aid Israeli settlements, despite these settlements being widely regarded as illegal under international law. The proposed legislation seeks to explicitly state that subsidising activities outlawed by the Geneva Convention cannot be considered charitable giving. This move sends a powerful message that the state of New York is committed to upholding international legal standards.

Misconceptions and Opposition

Critics of the bill argue that it unfairly targets Jewish organisations and accuse it of attempting to demonise Jewish charities and sow division within the Democratic Party. However, supporters emphasise that the legislation is not an attack on Judaism or Israel’s right to exist. Instead, it seeks to address the issue of funding activities that violate international law. The bill explicitly focuses on preventing unauthorised support of Israeli settlement activity, without undermining the legitimacy of Israel as a nation.

Assembly member Mamdani and his office have already faced backlash and hate-filled calls, highlighting the challenging climate surrounding discussions related to Palestine and Palestinians. The threats and opposition faced by those advocating for justice in the Palestinian context underscore the need for open dialogue and a respectful exchange of ideas.

Read More: Israel not interested in peaceful solution of Palestine: Abbas

The introduction of the “Not on Our Dime!: Ending New York Funding of Israeli Settler Violence Act” by Assembly member Zohran Mamdani has sparked a crucial conversation about the responsibilities of charities and the alignment of their activities with international law. As the bill garners support from human rights activists, it also faces opposition from those who believe it unfairly targets Jewish organisations. The proposed legislation seeks to close the funding loophole and ensure that tax-deductible donations from New York-based charities do not inadvertently support human rights violations. The debate surrounding this bill will shape the discourse on international law, human rights, and the pursuit of justice for Palestinians affected by Israeli settlements.