(JTA) — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a speech on anti-Semitism that supporting the campaign to boycott Israel is “unacceptable.”
De Blasio, a Democrat, spoke Thursday at Brooklyn’s Kingsway Jewish Center, which hosted a city-sponsored rally against anti-Semitism.
“Maybe some people don’t realize it, but when they support the BDS movement, they are affronting the right of Israel to exist and that is unacceptable,” he said, using the acronym of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
De Blasio’s statements on BDS come amid a debate in the United States on legislation designed to prevent the campaign’s supporters from receiving government contracts. Critics of the legislation say it limits free speech.
De Blasio also addressed hate crimes against Jews in New York City, where they were more frequent targets in 2018 than all other targeted groups combined, according to police figures.
“Something is wrong and it must be addressed,” he said at the event. “It must be addressed in every part of our society. In our schools, in our neighborhoods, in our homes, we have to make sure that everyone hears a message of mutual respect and that voices of hate are confronted.”
Anti-Semitic incidents last year rose by 22 percent from 2017, NYPD figures show. Of the 352 hate crimes this year recorded as of Sunday, 183 were anti-Semitic incidents. Brooklyn has seen a spate of hate crimes against Jews in recent months.