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January 16, 2019 12:02 pm

Florida Governor Denounces BDS, Airbnb; Boosts Security Funding for Day Schools

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis giving a speech on Jan. 15, 2019, at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, calling for increased Jewish day school security funding, in addition to touting pro-Israel initiatives. Photo: Gov. Ron DeSantis Press Office.

JNS.org – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for increased Jewish day-school security funding, while calling for state sanctions against businesses that engage in the BDS movement.

The Republican governor, sworn in last week, pushed for a minimum of $2 million in recurring security funding for Jewish day schools. This comes in the aftermath of the shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last Feb. 14, and the murder of 11 people at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October.

Additionally, on Tuesday DeSantis said that his first global trade mission will be to the Jewish state, maintaining a gubernatorial campaign promise. It will occur after the legislative session in May, with members from both sides of the aisle in the Florida House and Florida Senate invited.

Moreover, the governor denounced the BDS movement and Airbnb boycott’’s of Judea and Samaria.

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“Florida is the most Israel-friendly state in the country, and we will not stand for discrimination against the Israeli people of any kind,” he said. “By calling for increased security for our Jewish day schools, punishing companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and taking my first trade mission to Israel, the Israeli people can be assured that they have no greater friend than Florida.”

“BDS is nothing more than a cloak for antisemitism, and as long as I’m governor, BDS will be [dead on arrival],” he continued. “I cannot wait to strengthen the already unwavering bond between Florida and the great State of Israel.”

DeSantis penned a letter, instructing Florida’s Department of Management Services to forbid state workers and contractors from being reimbursed for official travel expenditures related to Airbnb.

Groups such as the public-policy arms of Christians United for Israel and the Israeli-American Council applauded DeSantis’s move against Airbnb.

“The CUFI Action Fund strongly supports the measures Governor DeSantis’s administration is taking to sanction Airbnb for its antisemitic policy of delisting Jewish-owned properties in the West Bank,” said chairwoman Sandra Parker. “State and local governments should continue to take decisive measures to limit Airbnb’s ability to operate unless and until this bigoted policy is reversed.”

“We thank Gov. DeSantis for his strong leadership in opposing the bigotry and antisemitism of the BDS movement. He has positioned Florida as a leader at a time when many states around the country have begun the process of evaluating Airbnb’s discriminatory new policy,” said IAC for Action chairman Shawn Evenhaim. “As the antisemitic BDS movement continues to pressure companies into adopting discriminatory practices, states have a responsibility to protect their interests by enforcing their anti-BDS laws.”

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan also welcomed DeSantis’s stance on the BDS movement.

“This is an important decision that will embolden the fight against antisemitic boycott organizations. We will continue to act in all possible ways to nullify the bigoted decision discriminating against citizens of the State of Israel and harming them financially because of where they live.”

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