Voice on Israel, DeSantis questioned for his silence on neo-Nazis in Florida | ET REALITY


Bryan Griffin, press secretary for DeSantis’ campaign, said DeSantis had demonstrated his commitment to protecting both Israel and American Jews through his actions, calling him “a leader who takes action and delivers.” He did not comment on the conversations with donors.

This week, however, one of DeSantis’ closest Jewish allies, state Rep. Randy Fine, broke with the Florida governor and switched his endorsement to Trump. sir good wrote in an op-ed that DeSantis’ failure to confront anti-Semitism more publicly had “broken my heart.” In an interview with The New York Times, he said he was dismayed by DeSantis’ “lack of leadership” after the neo-Nazi marches.

“Look, if you can’t say Nazis are bad, which should be the easiest thing in the world, then what are you doing?” said Mr. Fine, who is the only Jewish Republican in the state legislature and was publicly confronted by a neo-Nazi protester this month. “It’s important because Jews are afraid.”

Fine said the governor’s silence was “stubborn” and “wrong.”

In response to a reporter’s question this week, DeSantis defended himself, calling neo-Nazi protesters “stupid” and asking why he would “elevate that nonsense” by calling attention to them.

“I think some of them are false,” the governor said at a campaign event in New Hampshire. “I think they’re just trying to get media clicks.”

He also accused Fine, who is running for state Senate, of playing “pure politics” with his endorsement.

Unlike DeSantis, Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, both Republicans, have condemned Neo-Nazi activities in Florida.

After an incident last year, Mr. Rubio wrote on social media that anti-Semitism was a “dangerous poison” that must be condemned “everywhere and at all times, even when it is just a small group of losers craving attention,” an apparent rebuke of Mr. DeSantis.

Many leaders of prominent Jewish groups agreed with Rubio’s assessment. Sarah Emmons, Florida regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, told The Times this week that “public officials should denounce anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms across the political spectrum, regardless of the source.”

Both the governor’s office and his presidential campaign said he had responded to the incidents with actions rather than words, pointing to legislation he signed that strengthened protections against religious discrimination in schools, increased penalties for anti-Semitic harassment and funded security. in Jewish schools. The governor has also ordered state authorities to pursue neo-Nazis for illegal demonstrations.

“It is more important for the Governor to take action to protect the Jewish community and hold those who break the law accountable than to give these protesters the full coverage they (and the media) crave,” said Jeremy Redfern, press secretary in the office. of the governor. office, he said in a statement.

In a high-profile anti-Semitic incident in February, Rabbi Yosef Konikov was surrounded by neo-Nazi protesters as he attempted to drive from the Chabad he leads in Orlando. The men shouted insults and threats. Konikov described the encounter, which was caught on video and was not his first encounter with the group, he said, as “disturbing.”

But he said he believed the governor had done well by not speaking publicly about what happened.

“I don’t want these guys to get any more coverage than they’re already getting,” explained Konikov, who said he attended Hanukkah celebrations at the governor’s mansion. He also said DeSantis’ office had called him privately to offer support.

DeSantis’ Jewish supporters believe the governor has made his position abundantly clear through his legislative agenda and his full support for Israel.

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