“Fighting BDS to me is the continuation of the bi-partisan consensus in favor of Israel,” maintained the governor.
“If you support BDS in Florida, you are dead politically,” said Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday in a reference to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
The Republican governor is currently on a visit to the Jewish State, largely coordinated by the “Yes! Israel Project.”
Before starting his term in January, DeSantis served Florida’s 6th district in Congress from 2013 to 2018. In the House of Representatives, he was known as a strong voice in support of Israel.
Immediately after his inauguration, DeSantis warned that Airbnb would face sanctions in his state in response to the company’s decision not to list Israeli properties in Judea and Samaria. Airbnb later backed down from its decision.
His comments on Wednesday came during a visit to Gush Etzion, a region south of Jerusalem captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
“He is the first American governor that people can recall who has so publicly crossed over [into that part of Judea,” reports the Jerusalem Post. However, DeSantis said that he saw no difference between the part of Israel demarcated under an armistice agreement reached in 1949 after Israel’s War of Independence and that which was captured in 1967.
Israel is about to mark the 52nd anniversary of Six-Day War, which included the reunification of Jerusalem through the liberation of Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.
While the Democratic Party battles calls from within to support BDS, DeSantis argued that “fighting BDS to me is the continuation of the bi-partisan consensus in favor of Israel. It is not a departure. The people who are supporting BDS are departing from the bi-partisan consensus.”
DeSantis’ visit to Gush Etzion did not seem to be drawing as much controversy as the Florida cabinet meeting he held in Jerusalem at the U.S. Embassy.
The meeting marked “the first time a U.S. state cabinet has held a formal governmental meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
The meeting apparently sparked a lawsuit filed by “an open-government watchdog group and several news outlets” who claim that holding a “closed” cabinet meeting “violates a constitutional requirement that government meetings be open to the public,” according to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.
There was no mention of the potential political sensitivity of the meeting being held at the embassy in Jerusalem, transferred last year from Tel Aviv by President Donald Trump.
In any case, the Sentinel reported, a judge denied the emergency motion from the First Amendment Foundation seeking to prevent Wednesday’s meeting “because attorneys for DeSantis and Cabinet officials hadn’t been served with copies of the suit.”