Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis put the Sunshine State on a path to further warming ties with the Jewish State, defeating his Democratic challenger, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, for the governorship Tuesday in Florida.
DeSantis promised during his campaign that he would be the “most pro-Israel governor in the country,” vowing that his first trip abroad as governor would be to Israel.
In remarks to Israel Hayom shortly after his victory, DeSantis said that as governor, he will be “responsible for the anti-BDS list so that if I see that certain elements are boycotting Israel, I can unilaterally put the companies that do so on the Florida blacklist so that they cannot engage with government agencies in Florida. I will be very aggressive in this action, and I think it will help fight the BDS.”
Florida introduced an anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) law in 2015, the fifth state in the U.S. to do so. The law allows Florida to blacklist companies that boycott Israel and deny them state contracts. Twenty states have similar legislation.
DeSantis is willing to support a bill to bolster the state’s action against BDS. “We will be aggressive in our efforts … I did it in the House of Representatives for six years, and I was actually the first in the House to hold a hearing on the war on BDS.”
In Congress, DeSantis built a reputation as one of its most ardent pro-Israel members.
In addition to fighting BDS, DeSantis pressed the Department of Justice to prosecute Palestinian terrorists who killed U.S. citizens. He backed the Taylor Force Act to prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from supporting the Palestinian Authority payouts to terrorists and their families. And he supported President Donald Trump’s Israel agenda, including the U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem.
DeSantis also backed Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Building economic ties
Citing challenges such as pollution on the Florida coast, DeSantis says he wants to “develop more economic ties with Israel … to establish a working relationship between the universities, researchers and entrepreneurs in the field of innovation.”
DeSantis opposes making a distinction between areas beyond the Green Line.
“I want to make sure that when companies in Florida do trade with Israel, there will be no line on the map of Israel,” he said, meaning no difference between “Israelis living in Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities in the Golan Heights or Judea and Samaria.”
DeSantis supports Israel’s control over the Golan Heights and wants the U.S. to recognize Israeli sovereignty there. “When you lead an effort with full faith and purpose,” like the Jerusalem embassy move, “good things happen,” he said. “The same thing could happen in the issue of the Golan Heights.”
DeSantis says Florida’s citizens back the Jewish State. “It does not matter if I’m in Boca Raton or Pensacola, people in Florida are pro-Israel,” he stated. (World Israel News)
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