Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has just announced his candidacy for President of the United States. There should be no question that this is great news for the American Jewish community and the pro-Israel community at-large. DeSantis has proven time and time again that he stands with the Jewish people and Israel, at every turn.
I first met DeSantis and his wife Casey nearly ten years ago at a small dinner in the Old City of Jerusalem. The dinner was held in a small room which was once the lobby of the hotel that Mark Twain stayed in when he visited Jerusalem while writing his famous book, The Innocents Abroad. Desantis had recently been elected as a US Congressman. Our dinner was jovial, yet substantive. Different speakers came by and led conversations with Desantis and our group of less than 10. Three things were immediately clear to everyone at that dinner, myself included. First, DeSantis has intimate and in-depth knowledge about the political complexities and historical nuances of the region. Second, DeSantis fully and unequivocally stands with Israel. Third, this young Congressman would have a long and successful political career.
As a US Congressman, DeSantis made standing with Israel and the American Jewish community a pillar of his policy priorities. By way of example, before it was particularly popular, then-Congressman Desantis took on the nefarious anti-Israel boycott movement, known as BDS, by introducing the Boycott Our Enemies, Not Israel Act. And, while the Jewish community is grateful for former President Trump’s moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem, many forget that despite his campaign promises, Trump signed a waiver six months into office, rather than move the embassy at that time as he initially had promised. Then, Congressman Desantis sprung into action, and took it upon himself to keep this issue in the forefront to pressure Trump to move the Embassy. DeSantis held committee meetings in Congress on the issue, traveled to Jerusalem to visit the sites owned by the Federal government in Jerusalem, and even held a large press conference in Israel to pressure the Trump administration to follow through on their promise to move the Embassy. Thereafter, DeSantis was at the forefront of the campaign to pressure then President Trumps to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
As Governor, DeSantis continued his substantive support for the Jewish community on a wide variety of fronts. Whether passing a series of some of the strongest antisemitism bills in the nation, providing security funding for Jewish institutions, pushing back strongly against the BDS movement, mandating a moment of silence in public schools, or passing a robust school choice program, Governor DeSantis has shown unequivocally that he stands with the American Jewish community and Israel. His three official trips to Israel during his time in office further cement the Governor’s dearly held beliefs related to the Jewish State.
Of course, as Governor, DeSantis has also brought prosperity to the lives of all Floridians, making Florida the State with the highest net migration in the country. People are flocking to Florida in large part to enjoy the freedoms and prosperity that today, are distinctly Florida. This is true in the Jewish community as well. DeSantis’ formula of fiscal responsibility and conservatism has made Florida one of the most popular states in the nation and the Governor one of the nation’s most popular political figures.
While it certainly is the case that the Jewish community in the United States holds a wide variety of positions on various political issues, it is indisputable that Governor DeSantis has a long term, impeccable record as it relates to issues of standing with, protecting, and strengthening, both the American Jewish community and the state of Israel alike.
The American Jewish community should take great comfort in a DeSantis presidential candidacy and we should be so lucky to have him as our next President.
Gabriel Groisman is the former mayor of Bal Harbour, Fla., and a partner at LSN Partners and LSN Law in Miami. He has been a leader in fighting for the Jewish community on various fronts, including combating anti-Semitism and the BDS movement, having written and passed the first municipal anti-BDS ordinance, as well as the first codification of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.