BDS-supporting NY assemblywoman seeks seat in House

After initially framing BDS as a free speech issue, Yuh-Line Niou admits she personally supports the anti-Israel boycott movement.

By World Israel News Staff

A progressive New York state assemblywoman who is now running for a federal position in the House of Representatives supports the anti-Israel BDS movement.

Yuh-Line Niou, a Democrat who has also called for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to be abolished, was not initially candid about her position on the Israel boycott movement during an interview with Jewish Insider.

When asked if she was in favor of BDS, Niou framed the question as a free speech issue, stating that she believes “in the right to protest as a fundamental tenet of western democracy.”

“It’s really important to make sure that we can speak up against anything that we feel is unjust,” she told JI.

“It is the right of every American, I think, to exercise their right to free speech as they see fit, and I think that we should not punish those who voice their support of protected speech activities. I think that’s the core of deliberative democracy. I think that this is such a bedrock issue, the right to use your voice and use your dollars to create social change. I still remember when I was a young person I decided I wasn’t going to wear any Nikes.”

After being pushed about her personal view of BDS, she avoided directly answering questions about the movement and reiterated that she supports free speech.

Repeated warnings from Jewish groups and activists about BDS’s fundamentally antisemitic nature did not seem to phase the local politician, as she said she simply doesn’t view the movement that way.

“People think that the BDS movement is in some way antisemitic, but I don’t think that it is,” she continued. “I think that it’s making sure that people can have the right to be able to have free speech.”

Notably, Niou attended college with Rachel Corrie, a now-famous pro-Palestinian activist who was accidentally killed by an IDF bulldozer after refusing to vacate a warzone in Gaza. An Israeli investigation found that Corrie’s death was accidental, and that the bulldozer’s operator did not see her.

“It was just this trauma that I think our class will never get over,” Niou said. “I think that was my first time thinking about what it means to have peace and what it means to support humanitarian action.”

Later, in an email to JI, Niou finally admitted that she does personally support the BDS movement.

That position places her starkly to the far-left of mainstream Democratic positions. Currently, only a handful of Democratic lawmakers, including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), officially support BDS.