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Metro&Beyond: Terror in the Sunshine State?

Jacob Kornbluh

“I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anything as offensive as what we just heard”

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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T he Israeli-Palestinian conflict was on display last week in the Florida legislature when a Palestinian student seemingly making a veiled threat of terror acts drew a sharp rebuke from a Jewish lawmaker.

During debate over a resolution that expressed support for President Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Reem Zaitoon, a representative of the Florida State University group Students for Justice in Palestine, said: “There will be no true peace and safety for any of your constituents as long as resolutions like this, that refuse to be aware of the situation in Palestine, are passed.”

Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican from Brevard County, responded in shock.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anything as offensive as what we just heard. If I heard right, the previous speaker basically threatened our constituents with terrorism if we voted for this bill.”

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Fine and Rep. Jared Moskovitz, a Democrat from Miami, passed by a 22-0 unanimous vote.

#BDSFail: Lawmakers Reject Boycott Laws

Another pro-Israel bill introduced by Rep. Fine — one that would amend Florida’s 2016 anti-BDS law and make it illegal for city governments in Florida to purchase products from companies and organizations that discriminate against Israel — is also close to passage. Florida law currently prohibits the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel — if the contract is for $1 million or more. Fine’s law would abolish that threshold.

“This sends a strong message that anti-Israel views are not friendly to the state of Florida, and we are going to have a zero-tolerance policy for companies that engage in Israeli boycotts,” Fine told Mishpacha. “The BDS movement is just the latest incarnation of the anti-Semitism that goes back decades.”

At least 24 states have passed legislation or enacted restrictions that prohibit state agencies from engaging in business with entities that support the BDS movement.

Last week, the New Orleans City Council rescinded a resolution that mistakenly supported the BDS movement. The move came following pushback by local and national Jewish groups, who insisted that a January 11 vote to set up a process to review city investments in countries that commit human rights abuses targeted Israel. The resolution didn’t mention Israel, but it was reportedly drafted by the New Orleans Palestine Solidarity Committee and was introduced under a rules suspension that did not allow equal time for people opposed to the motion. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said after the vote that the resolution was “ill advised, gratuitous, and does not reflect the policy of the city of New Orleans.” Several council members claimed they were not aware that the measure was connected to the BDS movement.

Republican US senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a co-sponsor of the US Senate’s Israel Anti-Boycott Act, said in an e-mail to supporters, “While city council members feigned innocence, claiming to be totally unaware of the resolution’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic meaning, pro-BDS activists and anti-Semites around the nation rejoiced. As your senator, I will always stand with Israel and work to protect Jewish-Americans from the harm that BDS causes, this I promise you.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 696)

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