Governor DeSantis gets a Wink for standing against anti-Semitism

As we watched the recent tragic events unfold, where Hamas, an Iran-backed terrorist organization, launched a barbaric attack on Israel, it is a stark reminder of the importance of safeguarding our communities and ensuring anti-Semitism is not celebrated but instead, eradicated.

Florida Governor DeSantis has come out strong against school campuses allowing anti-Semitism groups to taunt Jewish students. He is not having it and he is demanding schools get in line with Florida’s laws on the matter.

Governor DeSantis signed House Bill 741 into law in 2019. This legislation set forth specific requirements for public educational institutions, from kindergarten to higher education, in addressing discrimination against Jewish students and employees. The law recognizes that discrimination motivated by anti-Semitism is tantamount to discrimination based on race, extending protection to Jewish students and employees. It outlines specific examples of discriminatory conduct that must be addressed, including the spread of harmful stereotypes and accusations against Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Anti-Semitic conduct related to Israel is also addressed, making it clear that demonizing, applying a double standard, or delegitimizing Israel will not be tolerated within Florida’s educational institutions. This law ensures that education programs and activities are offered free from discrimination on the basis of race and national origin, making it essential that Jewish students can participate in all facets of education without fear of intimidation or harassment.

Additionally, recent statutory changes have further fortified the Governor’s commitment to protecting Jewish students and communities. House Bill 269, signed into law earlier this year, established stronger criminal penalties for certain anti-Semitic crimes, ensuring that those who engage in harassment or intimidation based on religious or ethnic heritage face serious consequences.

Educational institutions have a vital role to play in ensuring that acts of anti-Semitism are thoroughly investigated and appropriately addressed. Discriminatory conduct must be met with the swift and decisive action required by the law.

The State of Florida’s Board of Governors and the Florida Department of Education, have committed to assisting educational institutions in compliance with these significant provisions of the law. Free speech is one thing but Hamas, the organization behind the recent attacks on Israel, is designated as a TERRORIST organization. Florida law is clear on this matter, and anyone providing material support or resources to such organizations will face severe penalties.

Eye is proud of the stance our Governor has taken to ensure the State of Florida will not tolerate any form of violence, intimidation, harassment, or threats against Jewish students, employees, or communities.

All Floridians – no matter their background, race, or beliefs – should be treated with respect and dignity and we should feel that Florida is a safe haven for all its residents.

Billie Tucker Volpe

Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives.


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