Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis led the state Cabinet to Israel three years ago.
The session, held at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, was described by the governor’s office as a “historic ceremonial meeting” that “served as a chance for the Governor and Cabinet members to exchange best practices and hear from Israeli leaders on issues of mutual interest to Florida and Israel.”
“I was honored to take part in this historic meeting today at the United States Embassy in Jerusalem,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Today was a significant milestone in the long relationship between Florida and Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East. I want to thank Attorney General [Ashley] Moody, CFO [Jimmy] Patronis, and Commissioner [Nikki] Fried for joining me and assuring the people of Israel that Florida stands strong with them.”
The panel also adopted a resolution “recognizing the meaningful relationship between Florida and the State of Israel,” a press release noted. That resolution praised Israel as a “stabilizing force” in the Middle East and “buffer against despots who trample human rights.”
It also noted the strong economic, educational, scientific, and cultural ties between Florida and Israel and said a “genuine affinity” was shared by citizens of both places, who believe “hate can be overcome by goodwill and providence.”
What a difference three years makes.
On Tuesday, Breitbart News reported that the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City canceled an appearance by DeSantis because “liberal staff claimed that he does not ‘align with the museum’s values and its message of inclusivity.’”
“The museum refused to host DeSantis, despite his track record in supporting the Jewish community and the State of Israel, and despite the fact that thousands of Jews are moving to Florida from New York and other states, creating a Jewish communal renaissance there under DeSantis’s watch,” Breitbart added.
Elliot Abrams and Eric Cohen of the Tikvah fund, which hosts the yearly Jewish Leadership Conference, had invited DeSantis to speak at their meeting. But, they noted, the museum told them to cancel DeSantis or their event would be canceled.
“The new thought police don’t see themselves as acting solely or primarily out of fear. They believe they are defending the good: inclusion against hate, equality against discrimination, victimized minorities against white privilege. Yet the pseudo-gospel of inclusion breaks down quickly,” they said.
“In the name of inclusivity, a Jewish museum sent us a clear message: Some people are to be excluded. In the name of fighting hate, the museum decided that the millions of Floridians who support Gov. DeSantis—including many Jews—are so hateful that they don’t even merit a voice in the great American conversation. A museum of tolerance has become intolerant.”
Abrams and Cohen said that when they pressed the museum for an explanation of why DeSantis was out, the site’s CEO “adopted a common form of doublespeak.” “We don’t do politics, he told us, whether left or right,” they added.
But that was not true. In August 2018, then-Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke at the museum – even though since she’s been in Congress, AOC has been a vicious and, as Abrams and Cohen say, “vociferous” critic of Israel.
Ultimately, the event will go on, somewhere else.
“The preservation of Jewish heritage depends not only on remembering the lost Jews of the past. It depends also on channeling those sacred memories toward a vibrant Jewish future—the kind of Jewish renaissance we are seeing today in Florida,” Abrams and Cohen said.
“The Jewish Leadership Conference won’t be canceled, and the governor of the state with America’s third-largest Jewish population will speak. We will hold our event as planned, at a different, secular venue. But it is sad to see that the misguided leadership of a Jewish museum won’t allow alternative ideas a seat at the Jewish table.”