How Ron Desantis Puts Israel First and Assaults the Speech Rights of American Citizens – Alexander Rubinstein 7/30/23


While posing as a defender of free speech, Florida’s Ron DeSantis has played point man on the Israel lobby’s crusade to criminalize American citizens for their exercising their constitutionally-protected right to boycott Israel.

Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has spent his career as an elected official pushing an array of laws attacking the free speech of American citizens who exercise their constitutionally-protected right to boycott Israel. One anti-boycott bill DeSantis championed sought to send violators to prison for 10 years.

At the same time, the governor has sought to position himself as a champion of the First Amendment. During a 2022 press conference, he stood behind a podium emblazoned with the phrase, “Gov. DeSantis Defends Free Speech.” Flanked by medical professionals bearing signs that read “free speech, free state,” and “science not censorship,” DeSantis slammed the censorship regime erected to enforce public compliance to Covid-19 restrictions.

Yet, when it comes to silencing critics of his major financial benefactors, and limiting the First Amendment rights of American citizens to choose where and where not to spend their hard-earned dollars, DeSantis is more pro-mandate than pro-Madison.

The most recent of DeSantis’ many assaults on the right to boycott came this July 17, as he stood before a Christian Zionist group which supports Israel on the basis that it is the future landing pad for the Messiah.

Branding himself the “most pro-Israel governor in the United States,” the Florida Republican announced an official investigation into the financial ratings firm Morningstar over allegations related to Florida’s ban on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“Today, I am happy to make — and this law just took effect at the beginning of July — I’m happy to announce for everybody, that Florida has formally instituted an investigation against Morningstar for violations of our anti-BDS law. We’re not letting them target Israel and get away with it, we’re using our tools to fight back,” DeSantis announced at a conference of Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Morningstar has been accused by the state of Florida of downgrading companies that are associated with Israel.

During the same event, DeSantis referred to the occupied Palestinian West Bank by its biblical name, “Judea and Samaria,” insisting it was “not occupied territory.”…

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