Rick Scott calls on Floridians to speak out against ‘disgusting’ antisemitism

Rick Scott Antisemitism Yarmulke
‘How would you like to have somebody screaming at (your kids) about their religion?’

Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott is calling on all Floridians to speak out against rising antisemitism in the state, calling its effects on children “disgusting.”

“Everybody — not just Jews, but everybody — we all have to show up and say it’s wrong. Because it shouldn’t happen against Muslims. It shouldn’t happen against Christians. It shouldn’t happen against anybody,” he said.

“How would you like to have somebody screaming at (your kids) about their religion? That’s what’s going on. You have all these wonderful Jewish kids in our state. … They get to hear this and see this and possibly experience it? I mean, that’s disgusting.”

Scott’s remarks Tuesday at the Chabad of University of Central Florida follow numerous instances in the past couple years in which area residents found antisemitic flyers in their driveways, observed hateful messages projected onto buildings and saw neo-Nazi protests above highways and at theme parks.

Similar things happened elsewhere across the state, prompting calls for a federal probe into the matter. The frequency of antisemitic acts more than doubled in Florida between 2020 and 2022 to an all-time high of 269 incidents last year, a 42% year-over-year increase, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

That tracks with what’s happening nationwide. The ADL found that the number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. grew by more than 35% in the past year to 3,697 in 2022. Antisemitic and White supremacist propaganda also hit new levels in America, where celebrities like Kanye West spread untruths about Jewish heritage while rubbing elbows with known Holocaust deniers.

This past weekend, a video surfaced showing Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy sharing a conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 virus was engineered to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people, sparking outrage online.

On Monday, more than 40 Democratic members of Congress released a statement distancing themselves from fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal — a member of the so-called “Squad,” several of whom have been criticized for making antisemitic remarks aimed at Israel — after she called Israel a “racist state.”

In April, Gov. Ron DeSantis — Scott’s successor — signed a new law making it a felony in Florida to harass people for their religion or ethnicity and hiking penalties for leaving flyers with hateful images, messages or any other “credible threat” on a person’s private property.

Floridians must still take more personal responsibility in combating the troubling trend, Scott said — and it starts with education.

“We took our kids (to the concentration camps, Bergen-Belsen) and Auschwitz, and I think everybody ought to read the book ‘Night’ (by Elie Wiesel),” he said. “People need to understand (that the Holocaust) happened, and it can happen again.

“And by the way, there’s atrocities going on around the world, and we have to try to stand up against all of them. When you see, like in China, you see the Uyghurs put in prison because of their religion, that’s wrong too. If we don’t stand up, then … who’s going to stand up for what we believe in, what you believe in, if nobody stands up for anyone else?”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • My Take

    July 18, 2023 at 2:41 pm

    The GOP base is feeling its oats.
    It’s favorites are at the top of the heap.
    MAGA, not moderation.
    Treason, not tolerance.
    Fascism, not fairness.
    White, not right or bright.

    • My Take

      July 18, 2023 at 2:45 pm

      (Its, not it’s)

      We can’t even blame MAGA specifically.
      Antisemitism has been a big part of the GOP for 150 years.

    • Earl Pitts "Genious Political Advisor" American

      July 18, 2023 at 3:48 pm

      Good afternoon America,
      Well the Republican long knives are definatly coming out for Desantis.
      Full disclosure:
      *You all should know Desantis is my, Earl Pitts American’s, choice to support for the best interest of America.*
      This is the second such fake news Senator Scott has released today in his transparent and lame attempt to throw shade on “America’s Govornor Ron Desantis” while at the same time trying to amputate his own tounge and have it perminatly transplanted into Trump’s oriface “where the sun dont shine.
      To save the gentel reader’s precious time I will paste my revealing wisdom reply to Scott’s morning fake news release:
      *Reprint From This Morning*
      Good Afternoon America,
      This should have been a “pick up the phone and talk with the Next POTUS Ron “The Ronald” Desantis moment” rather than a “Back-Stabbing” “Fake @55” public presser.
      Rick Rickey Richard Dick you have Desantis cell # on speed dial. Just pick up the phone and call The Govorner, why dident you, Rick Rickey Richard Dick?
      I’ll tell America why:
      Its because Rick Rickey Richard Dick thinks he smells blood in the water and Rick Rickey Richard Dick is signaling his desire to be an early Trump bu++ kisser.
      C’mon Rick Rickey Richard Dick your Mom raised you better. Well speaking for the Desantis campaign: “There will be retrabution for your insolance, Rick Rickey Richard Dick,”.
      Thank you America,
      Earl Pitts American

  • Dont Say FLA

    July 18, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    I might have missed something. What is Rick Scott talking about?

    Is he talking about the ancient artifacts loaned to the USA for a particular event which now reside at Maga Lardo? Stealing from Israel is anti-Semitic? Does everything involving a Jewish person have to be anti-Semitic? Can’t stealing just be stealing? Trump gotta Trump. It didn’t have anything to do with any involved people being of Jewish faith. Shame on thievin’ Defelonious Javina Trump.

    Or is he talking about Rhonda screaming at children because they were wearing masks during the Covid pandemic but Rhonda’s religion is the so-called “liberty” to say you’re anti-Mask and anti-Vax when you go get the vax anyway. Is that it? Were those kids Jewish? I didn’t know. Shame on Yelly Rhonda!

  • Rick Rolled

    July 18, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    When Rick says “Everybody — not just Jews, but everybody — we all have to show up and say it’s wrong,” he meant “Everybody — not just Jews, but everybody other than the gays, the trans, and the scary drag queens — we all have to show up and say it’s wrong, except, again, the gays, the trans and the drag queens, that’s totally fine to do it to them.”

  • TJC

    July 18, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    I am not a fan of Rick Scott, but when he says something that is correct and well-said it must be acknowledged as such. I agree with his message — in this case, as reported here — and am happy to hear it, from him or anyone else.
    Also, in defense of any politician from any side, it must be pointed out that criticizing the government of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians is not anti-semitism, it is a criticism of the government of Israel, which, like any democratic government, is fair game for criticism.

  • MFLs

    July 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm

    We have added ‘Night’ (by Elie Wiesel) to our list of books to be removed from Florida’s public school libraries but not, ahem, banned.

    Thanks for the tip, Rick!

  • PeterH

    July 18, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    90% of criminal antisemitism is perpetrated by uneducated white supremacy advocates who align with the Republican Party.

    Pandering for votes is what Rick Scott does best.

  • Andrews

    July 18, 2023 at 8:33 pm

    The Senator and I cannot call him a man, more a Trump puppet, kisses the ass of the man who led antisemitism from under a rock, and now wants Floridians to speak out? You cannot have a ‘Nazi’ base in your GOP party and at the same time call out ‘Anti-Semitism’! Why are you not calling out the ‘white supremacy’, ‘antisemitic’, and hate groups in your own political party? No you and other GOP Senators, including your VP, hid like mice on January 6th! Goodbye Scott!

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    July 19, 2023 at 7:20 am

    The comments from the far left illustrate the danger they pose to the Republic. And to me and any Jewish person

    • My Take

      July 19, 2023 at 3:47 pm

      Every neoNazi votes Republican.
      If a felony conviction or election-day intoxication doesn’t prevent it.

    • Dont Say FLA

      July 20, 2023 at 9:09 am

      Yevgeny “Charlotte” Prigozhin, let me tell you about a real place called Charlottesville, and a real person who was named Heather Heyer.

Comments are closed.


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