Jerusalem hearts DeSantis

It appears Gov. Ron DeSantis and his cast of 100 lawmakers, business leaders and university officials earned some love from the locals during an economic-development mission in Israel.

The sojourn, which included a “ceremonial” meeting of DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet generated some controversy back home.

But The Jerusalem Post editorial board gave the Republican governor a big thumbs up as the tour wrapped up Thursday.

“Thank You, Gov. DeSantis,” the headline on the editorial read, right above a pull-out quote from DeSantis: “Florida will always stand with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East.”

Below are some excerpts:

“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis showed once again that he is a true friend of Israel during his visit to the country this week.

Even before his trip to Israel, in the weeks after DeSantis was elected governor last year, he immediately took action on behalf of the Jewish state. Florida’s cabinet recognized Jerusalem as “Israel’s eternal capital,” invested $10 million in Israel Bonds and blacklisted Airbnb because of its plan to boycott listings in West Bank settlements, which the global company has since reversed,” the editorial begins.

The editorial board also praised DeSantis for trashing the BDS movement:

This week, DeSantis repeatedly spoke out against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, leading the first official trade mission to the West Bank led by a US governor – with two dozen business leaders. He is also leading the largest-ever official governor-led delegation to Israel.

“Antisemitism is driving the BDS movement, and you cannot separate the two,” he said at the Gush Etzion Industrial Zone on Wednesday, meeting with Jewish and Arab businesspeople who oppose boycotts. “We are not going to discriminate against certain Israelis – and if people do… we will take action accordingly.”

DeSantis pointed to the blatant hypocrisy of the BDS movement, whose leadership’s stated goal is the elimination of the Jewish state and that Jews do not have the right to self-determination.

“You have people that are willing to trade with Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world – some of the worst regimes in the world – and yet they only want to boycott the one Jewish and democratic state in the world,” he said.
“If you support BDS in Florida, you are dead, politically,” he added.

And here’s the kicker:

DeSantis’ friendship with Israel is at a level that should not be taken for granted. He has backed up his statements with actions, and showed a willingness to continue.

Thank you, Governor DeSantis.

Jewish lawmakers accuse University of Michigan students of anti-Semitism

This from the Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus:

The Central Student Government at the University of Michigan has recently passed a motion asking university leaders to look into divesting in businesses that do business with Israel, part of a larger movement known as Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS). Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) has brought forth this resolution in an attempt to squarely blame the state of Israel for “human rights violations” and push companies who do business in the nation to pull out.

This resolution comes at a time when anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise across the country. According to a recent audit by the Anti-Defamation League, there was a 34% nationwide increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the last year, with the trend continuing in the first quarter of 2017 in the form of an 86% increase of incidents including assault, harassment, and vandalism.

In response, the Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus offers the following statement:

“Recently we’ve seen an uptick of anti-Semitism in our national mood directed against both Jewish Americans and the state of Israel. We’re proud that Florida has taken bold steps against the BDS movement, while also making critical investments to protect our Jewish schools throughout the state. What happened at the University of Michigan deserves a swift rebuke. We recognize that Israel stands for peace and asks the same of its neighbors.”

Representative Richard Stark, Chair

Representative Lori Berman                            Senator Lauren Book

Representative Ben Diamond                          Senator Kevin Rader

Representative Katie Edwards               Senator Annette Taddeo

Representative Randy Fine

Representative Joseph Geller

Representative Jared Moskowitz

Representative David Silvers

Representative Emily Slosberg