In his first foreign-media interview since winning election as Florida’s 46th governor, Rep. Ron DeSantis talked with Israel Hayom in an interview that heavily emphasized his support for the State of Israel.
The three-term congressman has been arguably one of Israel’s biggest cheerleaders, putting his name on a number of bills aimed at encouraging Israel’s occupation and settlement of former Palestinian territories. He also took a very active role in President Donald Trump’s actions related to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. embassy there.
During the interview, DeSantis said he intends to further that agenda as governor of Florida:
“[A]s governor, I’m in charge of the anti-BDS list, so when there are boycotts of Israel, I can unilaterally put these companies on Florida’s list so that they can’t do business with the state of Florida. And I’ll be very aggressive in doing that, and I think that that will help combat BDS [the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement].”
DeSantis is hardly alone.
In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin recently signed an executive order barring state contracts with companies that support BDS at a ceremony attended by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, who thanked him for “making clear that anti-Semites are not welcome in the Bluegrass State.” His state has been richly rewarded with more than $85 million in exports to Israel in just the past year.
Tennessee was the first state to pass a resolution condemning BDS, and as of this writing, a total of 26 states have passed anti-BDS legislation. Palestine Legal notes that nearly 80 municipalities and other local governments have adopted their own anti-BDS policies, as well.
For instance, in Texas, the city of Dickinson near Houston made headlines when its application for Hurricane Harvey repair grants included a provision that asked applicants to verify they do not boycott Israel, nor will they during the terms of the agreement. The ACLU and other free speech advocates complained it was a First Amendment violation, prompting the city attorney to note that city officials were only following state law.
Gov. Gregg Abbott made his signature on the state’s anti-BDS law a major production, literally, producing a video that showed him praying at the Western Wall, meeting privately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and visiting with IDF soldiers. His office touted the signing event with the following headline:
“Anti-Israel Policies are Anti-Texas Policies”