Ocasio-Cortez Backs N.Y. Bill Limiting Donations to Israeli Settlements

A long-shot effort by left-leaning New York state lawmakers to curtail financial support for Israeli settlements has drawn a big-name backer — but she doesn’t have a vote in Albany.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who rarely wades into state politics, publicly backed a bill on Monday that could strip New York nonprofits of their tax-exempt status if their funds are used to support Israel’s military and settlement activity. Her involvement underscores the extent to which the war in Gaza and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians more broadly have animated the left flank of the Democratic Party as a pivotal election approaches.

“It is more important now than ever to hold the Netanyahu government accountable for endorsing and, in fact, supporting some of this settler violence that prevents a lasting peace,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said at a news conference. “This bill will make sure that the ongoing atrocities that we see happening in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as the ongoing enabling of armed militias to terrorize Palestinians in the West Bank, do not benefit from New York State charitable tax exemptions.”

Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani and State Senator Jabari Brisport introduced the bill, called the “Not on Our Dime” act, months before the Oct. 7 attack, saying it was an effort to prevent tax-exempt donations from subsidizing violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. It was widely criticized by Albany lawmakers and declared a “nonstarter.” Now its sponsors say they plan to revise the bill to prohibit “aiding and abetting” the resettling of the Gaza Strip or providing “unauthorized support” for Israeli military activity that violates international law.

“There’s a newfound consciousness in our country with regards to the urgency of Palestinian human rights, and we have to propose and advocate for legislation that reflects public sentiment,” Mr. Mamdani said in a recent interview, referring to some of Israel’s violence toward people in Gaza and the West Bank as “war crimes.”

The lawmakers announced the relaunch of the bill at an event at Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s Bronx district office on Monday morning, surrounded by left-leaning elected officials from the City Council and State Legislature. Asked why she had chosen to endorse a state-level bill, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said that it was “politically perilous” to do so and that she had wanted to support her colleagues.

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