Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans on March 13 to start a pro-Israel group via a video played at Carnegie Hall during World Values Network’s 80th commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
“I’m starting an organization called Progressives for Israel. I am going to call the question for Democrats. Do you stand with Israel or do you stand against Israel, because silence is not an option,” said Cuomo, who resigned amid multiple sexual-assault allegations a year-and-a-half ago.
“It’s time for our officials to condemn antisemitism, not just with their words but with their actions,” he added. “You can’t denounce antisemitism but waver on Israel’s right to exist and defend itself.”
Cuomo referred to himself as a “Shabbos goy,” a non-Jew whom a Jew asks to do something on Shabbat that is forbidden for the Jew to do.
“The Shabbos goy can do the work that benefits both the Jewish community and the non-Jewish community,” he said. “The Shabbos goy can turn on the lights on the Sabbath because it benefits everyone. It is time to turn on the lights.”
It was not immediately clear if Cuomo was serious about creating a new group or speaking rhetorically. Several progressive groups focused on Israel exist, and JNS could find no web presence for a new Cuomo-run group.
A Twitter handle called Progressives for Israel added, in all capital letters, to its profile: “Not affiliated with Andrew Cuomo!”
Cuomo did not respond to a request for comment from JNS.