Home Politics Legislative leaders will not relent on support for Israel

Legislative leaders will not relent on support for Israel

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State Senator Jabari Brisport today joined his fellow Democratic-Socialist legislators in support of a bill that attempts to clamp down on charitable donations to organizations that lawmakers allege are engaging in war crimes.

With help from Shawn Ness

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Hundreds of protesters gathered Today in Albany, shouting “Not one more cent, not one more cent, no more money for Israel’s crimes.”

But the legislative leadership is not paying attention.

In the state with the nation’s largest Jewish population, state Assembly and Senate leaders are refusing to even consider a bill pushed by Democratic-Socialist lawmakers that would crack down on charities they say “ will reinforce and promote Israeli war crimes.”

“It is impossible and the speaker’s position has not changed,” Mike Whyland, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, wrote in an email to POLITICO.

It’s the latest sign of how the war in Gaza continues to divide Democrats, exposing a gap between center-left lawmakers and establishment politicians that has only grown since the start of the conflict.

The current renewed focus on the war has done little to change the situation in Albany, where leaders and senior Democrats, many of whom are Jewish, simply will not budge in their support for Israel. That includes avoiding bills that criticize the Israeli regime.

“Jewish legislators feel that the entire world has largely turned against them, as Jews, not as legislators,” said Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a Jewish Democrat from Westchester. “We don’t feel it here. We didn’t feel it at the conference; We work together as colleagues. Those kinds of divisive issues rarely arise.”

Playbook then asked Paulin if he feels opposition to Israel is growing in the legislative body.

“I don’t know, because we don’t talk about it,” he responded.

In contrast to that characterization, hours earlier Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani and State Senator Jabari Brisport organized the noisy rally in favor of the “Not on Our Dime!: End Funding for Israeli Settler Violence in New York” law. ”.

The measure would strip New York charities of their tax-deductible status if they fund organizations that lawmakers say are involved in violations of the Geneva convention. He won support last week from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who stood alongside Mamdani at a rally in the Bronx in favor of the measure.

“It meant a lot to me, because it showed that while there may be attempts to characterize this as a marginal position, it is in fact the majority position,” Mamdani said of AOC’s support. “It’s just not accurately reflected in the corridors of power.”

Brisport feels the same way and told Playbook that he has heard from fellow Democrats who said they agree with his bill but are afraid of crossing paths with their party and creating opposition.

“I won’t share names, but some legislators have told me, ‘I obviously support the cause, but I’m not going to (support the bill) right now.’”

Meanwhile, the bill remains as impossible in Albany as it was last year, when Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Stewart Cousins ​​said they were committed to killing it.

“It was just raised for inflammatory reasons, and I don’t think the sponsor ever thought it was going to go anywhere anyway,” Assemblyman David Weprin, co-chair of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, said of the Mamdani bill. Brisport. .

“He just brings it up to cause tension,” Weprin added. “I hope people don’t fall into that trap.” —Jason Beeferman

New York Building Trades Council President Gary LaBarbera said it will be difficult to persuade some members to vote for President Joe Biden.

UNION PERSUASION: New York Building Trades Council President Gary LaBarbera acknowledged that union leaders will have a hard time persuading some of their members to vote for President Joe Biden.

“This is a very unique set of circumstances with Donald Trump,” LaBarbera told Playbook in an interview. “There are people who are not going to change their minds.”

LaBarbera was in Albany today to boost apprenticeship programs following a $7 million state budget allocation to strengthen workforce training. The funding includes support for direct entry and pre-apprenticeship programs and will bolster ongoing efforts for high school students, veterans and people who have faced legal issues before.

With just over four months until the nerve-racking presidential election, unions are well positioned to leverage their political power, especially in New York, which has one of the most unionized workforces in the country, second only to Hawaii.

That has given union leaders greater influence in New York, a blue state where Trump has nevertheless eaten into Biden’s lead. according to recent surveys. LaBarbera’s international union endorsed Biden’s re-election bid, offering him the support of a key demographic that has underpinned Trump’s political movement.

Trump has strongly courted working-class voters across the country, which could put this portion of the Labor vote into play. He even made a brief campaign stop at a union building in Manhattan last month.

Union leaders are planning a persuasion campaign for the (potentially small) subset of voters who have not yet committed to either.

LaBarbera highlighted a number of Biden’s accomplishments, including infrastructure spending and pension protection.

“Look, there will be members who we recognize will never be convinced that Joe Biden should be the next president,” LaBabera said. “They have to look at what this president has done for the unions.” —Nick Reisman

RASPBERRY DISAPPEARS QUESTIONS: New York Mayor Eric Adams’ top intergovernmental affairs adviser stood up and left a City Council hearing without answering questions about a controversial bill to expand his powers, underscoring strained relations between the mayor and the council

“This, to me, illustrates a disregard for this council, which we have all witnessed very clearly,” Speaker Adrienne Adams said, as the mayor’s Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Tiffany Raspberry, left the council chamber.

The mayoral administration had initially refused to testify about the bill, which would give the council a vote on mayoral appointments to lead 21 agencies. But two hours into the hearing, Raspberry agreed to read a prepared statement but not answer questions, explaining that she had not been “formally invited.”

Councilman Lincoln Restler, who chaired the hearing, bristled at the claim and said the council had made it clear, as of Thursday of last week, that they would like someone from the Adams administration to speak.

In delivering his statement, Raspberry said the bill would delay appointments and that confirmation hearings would “be used as a weapon to score cheap political points.”

The mayor’s Charter Review Commission also met today for the first time, in a pro forma matter. Another top intergovernmental affairs aide to Adams, Diane Savino, was named executive director. jeff coltin

WON’T GIVE UP: Paulin’s proposal to address a key issue raised by the state’s highest court when it overturned Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes conviction is dead in the Assembly this year.

But the legislator said she will not give up.

“I will be here as long as it takes to approve this,” Paulin told reporters today.

His legislation aims to address issues surrounding the use of so-called Molineux evidence, which is intended to support sexual offense charges by establishing a pattern of behavior for the accused.

In the Weinstein case, prosecutors were allowed to call witnesses who had accused the former Hollywood mogul of sexual assault and misconduct, but the allegations were not part of the criminal charges he faced.

The measure passed the Senate earlier this month.

But Assembly lawmakers had expressed concern about the implications of the bill, which was intended to strengthen prosecutors’ ability to use Molineux evidence in sex crime cases.

“I was devastated, because I believe that without this change serial rapists will not be convicted in New York as easily as they should, which will cause a problem primarily for women,” Paulin said.

Lawmakers noted the potential impact on defendants’ rights in lower-profile cases.

Paulin said there was “a group (of lawmakers) that didn’t want to do it at all and then the group that said bring it back with the amendments.” —Nick Reisman

NO SENATE ACTION AGAINST PARKER: Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ​​said she plans no action against Kevin Parker, a fellow Democrat in her conference, following allegations that he shoved attorney Michael Carey at the Capitol two weeks ago.

“To be honest, I never heard exactly what happened,” Stewart-Cousins ​​said. “There were investigations, the state police looked at it and no one had come back with any kind of official report. And now it’s not a problem, because the charges have been dropped.”

Carey said after the incident that he and Parker “they resolved things” and that he had told police he did not want to press charges.

Stewart-Cousins ​​was questioned about the incident after an event to announce legislative plans to help EMS workers. Package Included an invoice allow ambulance companies to receive Medicaid payments for taking patients to places such as urgent care centers, and one increase the tax credit for volunteer firefighters from $200 to $800. —Bill Mahoney

More from the Empire State:

— Experts say the labor market is finally showing signs of returning to pre-pandemic levels. (State of politics)

— Mayor Eric Adams is still considering revoking Sean “Diddy” Combs’ key to the city as he faces accusations of sexual assault and domestic violence. (Daily News)

— It is not yet clear whether congestion pricing will fulfill the state’s promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the desired amount. (The New York Times)

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