Governor Andrew Cuomo is leading a delegation of state legislative leaders to Israel on a two-day, unabashed show of support over the Gaza war and is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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“Our message is clear: We stand with Israel and we support Israel’s right to defend itself, ” Cuomo said Tuesday before departing from JFK International Airport.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver accompanied the governor. Silver’s district includes the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where Jewish America officially started.
Meanwhile, a major, international institution in the heart of NY City, the United Nations, has been facing some difficulty getting started on its investigation of the same war.
William Schabas, 63, a Canadian law professor, was picked to lead a UN commission examining possible war crimes in Gaza, was visibly offended this week, by charges that he somehow has an anti-Israel bias.
According to the Canadian Press, Schabas once said in a speech (widely disseminated online after the item broke out) that he believes Netanyahu should be “in the dock of an international court.” He also wrote in a law journal article that the Israeli prime minister could be regarded as “the single individual most likely to threaten the survival of Israel.”
But Schabas insisted that all these suggestions about his bias are absurd, because he had several gigs teaching law in Israeli universities, and that puts him on a par with at least the founders of the Kibbutz movement, if not more.
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 10 News, Schabas explained that his views about Netanyahu being a war criminal were stemming from the Goldstone report of Israel’s 2009 war with Gaza. It’s not me’ I’m just citing what Goldstone had to say about Netanyahu, Schabas argued.
Of course, the Goldstone report doesn’t mention Netanyahu even once, seeing as he wasn’t prime minister at the time but rather a member of the opposition in the Knesset.
The first thing they teach you in law school is not to say shit without checking it first.
Governor Cuomo, a distinct possibility for the White House race in 2016, can’t go wrong by being a friend of Israel. He’s the governor of NY State, for heaven’s sake, home of 1.7 million Jews.
This is Cuomo’s first international trip since becoming governor in 2011. He’s been to Israel four times before.
Last month, former NY City Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Israel to protest the 24 hour FDA ban on U.S. flights there, that was obviously a punishment of Israel by a beleaguered White House.