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Op-Ed: Kudos to Andrew Cuomo for Solidarity Visit To Israel

One governor is doing the right things at the right time.
Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 8:20 AM


The cosmopolitan cities of London, Paris and New York have many things in common.  They are all great cities with culture, commerce and so much more.  One thing they couldn’t be further apart on, though, is how they view Israel. 


He rejected an invitation from the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations to visit areas the Palestinian Arabs believe belong to them.
As Governor Andrew Cuomo departs for Israel Tuesday night comes the news that he rejected an invitation from the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations to visit areas the Palestinian Arabs believe belong to them. In the letter - which was leaked - the ambassador, Riyad H. Mansour, said Mr. Cuomo and his entourage were invited to “meet with our leadership, hear our people’s stories and formulate your opinions on the basis of experience of all sides of the conflict, not just one side.”

This solidarity visit to Israel – while flanked by Jewish leaders - is Cuomo's first international trip in his role as governor.  He is doing the right thing and sending the right message.  While it may seem an easy political decision, ,Governor Cuomo is making a statement by doing the right thing during a difficult time for Israel. It will resonate.

Elsewhere in the world, one sees a very different mode of behavior. In the United Kingdom, Government minister Sayeeda Warsi resigned from the government in protest of Prime Minister Cameron’s support for Israel. It was front page news all over Europe.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson in an interview, stated that “I can’t for the life of me see how this can be a sensible strategy. I think it is disproportionate, I think it is ugly and it is tragic and I don’t think it will do Israel any good in the long run.”  Politically, it makes sense for him, as Islam is the 2nd largest religion in the UK, and Muslim influence in the UK is increasing. Immoral, but good for votes.

Although, it is clear that British MP George Galloway crossed all decent boundaries this week with his hateful rhetoric that “We have declared Bradford an Israel free zone. We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics, coming to the university or the college. We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford if any of them had thought of doing so. We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.” Pure and simple hatred.

Then again, Galloway is pretty-damn politically correct when compared to a tiny hamlet south of Paris which is named "Death to Jews.” (Link is to Giulio Meotti's Arutz Sheva article of 4/2014 that put the town's name in the public eye).  Indeed, it’s a French hamlet about 60 miles south of Paris, whose deputy mayor today told AFP that anyone who complains was wrong.

"It's ridiculous. This name has always existed," said Marie-Elizabeth Secretand."Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even further? We should respect these old names."

And also respect the old anti-Semitic prejudices that were behind the name back in those Middle Ages or even further?

One does not know whether to laugh or cry.  It’s a real story and a real quote. Amazing.

Israel’s fight against terrorists strengthens New York and all of America.  Even this conservative New Yorker needs to thank Governor Cuomo today for his visit. 

Cuomo’s rhetoric is welcome and it’s the right thing. As he departed, he said “Our message is simple and is clear. We stand with Israel, and we support Israel’s right to defend itself in this conflict.”

How right he is.