ZOA Praises Gov. DeSantis for Commemorating Israel’s 75th Independence Day in Israel and Signing Bill on Antisemitism
News Press Release
May 1, 2023

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

The Zionist Organization of America thanks and praises Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for traveling to Israel last week (his fifth trip there) to heartwarmingly commemorate the reconstituted Jewish State’s 75th anniversary. Governor DeSantis issued a proclamation and delivered a truly great keynote address in Jerusalem. Among other things, Gov. DeSantis cited the Jewish people’s lawful, religious and historical rights to Israel, noting that:

the bond between the Jewish people in this holy land was never severed. Both the Balfour declaration and the British mandate recognize the historic connection of the Jewish people with the land of Israel and acknowledge the compelling basis for reconstituting their national home right here in the Holy Land. . . . Jerusalem is in fact, going back thousands of years, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

There’s Never Been a Palestinian Arab Entity

Governor DeSantis also correctly noted during a press conference: “Those are the most historic Jewish lands there are going back thousands and thousands of years. There’s never been a Palestinian Arab entity.”

Gov. DeSantis also spoke during his keynote speech about the need to assure Israel’s qualitative military superiority, and listed the extraordinary difficulties that Israel has been facing throughout the past 75 years, including the neighboring Arab states’ armies attacking the newly reconstituted Jewish state; Egypt’s and other Arab states’ war of attrition against Israel in ensuing years; the Yom Kippur war; Intifada terror wars; the threat of nuclear Iraq (which Israel eliminated); increasing Palestinian Arab terrorism; BDS; and the overriding “specter of a nuclear armed Iran, hell bent on the complete destruction of the Jewish state.”

Mr. Biden: Don’t Butt Into Israel’s Judicial Reform

ZOA is also pleased that Gov. DeSantis urged the Biden administration to refrain from “butting into” Israel’s internal judicial reform issues; and noted that Israelis are smart people who can figure out their internal governance issues for themselves. ZOA likewise opposes President Biden’s and his administration’s improper interference with Israel’s domestic policies, including much-needed democratic judicial reform.  The Israeli-government’s proposed reforms will improve Israel’s democracy, economy and the rule of law.

DeSantis Signs Bill Strengthening Fight Against Antisemitism

We are also very grateful to Governor DeSantis for signing important new hate crimes legislation (HB 269) that strengthens enforcement and criminal penalties against those who willfully and maliciously engage in antisemitic threats, intimidation and harassment in Florida. 

As ZOA President Morton Klein noted recently on the popular “Glazov Gang” talk show, Gov. DeSantis is a great friend of Israel, whose heart is with the Jewish people and with the Jewish state.

Mort Klein Testified at Desantis Hearings on Jerusalem and Golan Hts. And Joined Desantis on Previous Israel Trade Mission

Prior to becoming governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis was a U.S. Congressman and Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security. Then-Chairman DeSantis held major, well-attended hearings to advance moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and to advance U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and called on Mort Klein to testify at both hearings. (See Morton Klein’s detailed written Jerusalem Embassy testimony here; his oral Jerusalem Embassy testimony here; and his detailed testimony on recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights here.) Both hearings were successful. A few weeks after each hearing, then-President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, ordered the U.S. Embassy to be relocated to Jerusalem; and recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

During Ron DeSantis’ first year as governor of Florida, Gov. DeSantis brought a large trade mission to Israel, accompanied by ZOA President Morton Klein; facilitated trade deals between Florida and Israel; held a Florida cabinet meeting in Israel; and signed important legislation to combat antisemitism in Florida’s public universities.

Governor DeSantis is also a leader in combating anti-Israel and antisemitic boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS). When Airbnb engaged in BDS by announcing that it would delist Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria from Airbnb’s website, Governor DeSantis put Airbnb on Florida’s disfavored companies list to assure that Florida pension funds would not invest in Airbnb. Airbnb then reversed its antisemitic BDS policy. As Gov. DeSantis said “What we did worked.” (See also ZOA’s open letter to Airbnb’s chairman and background information here.)  

Thank you, Governor DeSantis.

Note: ZOA is a non-partisan organization. This release is not an endorsement of any candidate or potential candidate for political office.

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