Pro-Israel GOP legislators rally at Jacksonville City Hall as pro-Palestinian demonstrators are kept away

Bean Rutherford israel rally photo by AG
Northeast Florida Republicans took a stand on the war against Hamas, but answers were harder to get on related topics.

The Republican Party of Duval County brought foreign policy to the front door of Jacksonville’s City Hall, with GOP legislators from federal, state and local levels standing united for Israel’s military offensive against Hamas.

U.S. Reps. Aaron Bean and John Rutherford were on hand, as were state Sen. Clay Yarborough, state Reps. Jessica Baker and Dean Black (the party Chair), Sheriff T.K. Waters and City Council members Ken AmaroMichael Boylan and Nick Howland.

The rally comes in the wake of a Howland-sponsored City Council resolution “in Support of Israel as It Defends Itself in the War Launched by the Terrorist Organization Hamas.” The measure stipulates that the Council “stands unequivocally allied with Israel” during its military operations.

Various of the speakers offered remarks, none more memorable than the fiery Bean, who tied in the 80 degree weather with the situation in the Middle East.

“I know it’s warm. I know it’s uncomfortable. But guess what? Sometimes when you have to confront evil, it can get a little hot to face down people that have no idea what they’re talking about. It can get a little uncomfortable,” Bean said, as people chanted pro-Palestinian messages in the park across the street from City Hall.

“On Oct. 7, 1,400-plus innocent civilians were murdered, were slaughtered in the most inhumane way possible.”

Bean then alluded to the protesters.

“Oh, they’re going to tell you it didn’t happen,” Bean said, blaming colleges for the protests.

“What the heck are our higher institutions doing anyway? That’s the product right there. We’ve got work to clean up our education system,” Bean charged, as a “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant radiated from the park, where a few dozen protesters were held at bay by bicycle cops.

Other speakers included Yarborough, who contended the “genocidal acts evoke parallels” to the Holocaust perpetuated by the Nazis.

In Q&A, Florida Politics’ reporter covering the event noted the difference in GOP legislative response to Israel’s current conflict and the more muted reaction to neo-Nazi displays and protests in recent years in Jacksonville and elsewhere. Those events preceded the Israeli conflict and saw Gov. Ron DeSantis claim on at least one occasion that the demonstrators were trying to politically subvert him by holding up pro-DeSantis signs along with Nazi symbols.

The legislators were slow to respond, save Rutherford, who noted he “put a tweet out that night” and that “it’s a matter of what gets reported and what doesn’t.”

Black noted that while everyone should “condemn” neo-Nazis, that “wasn’t the point of this gathering,” which was to demonstrate that legislators stand “loudly and clearly” with Israel.

Democratic Mayor Donna Deegan, who is of Lebanese descent, is out of town and was not at the rally organized by the opposition party. Earlier this month, she asserted that Hamas had “engaged in unprecedented barbarism,” while maintaining hope that a “peaceful resolution” is possible.

Bean noted that he wanted to meet with her Monday, but her being out of town precluded that.

“I think if she was here, she would be here,” Bean said.

The sole “no” vote on the Council resolution was President Ron Salem, a Republican who is of Palestinian descent and who has dealt with security challenges since his vote against the measure. Asked for comment on the GOP gathering last week, Salem said, “No thanks.”

Questions about whether Salem should resign, as some conservative activists have called for, were pointedly ignored by Chairman Black, the three Republicans on the stage, and everyone else.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • MH/Duuuval

    October 26, 2023 at 1:54 pm

    Nick “Much ado about nothing” Howland continues his efforts to divert attention away from his FireWatch grift, which played upon the widespread support of veterans in northeast Florida.

    Salem cast the only vote against Howland’s flag-waving bill because it implicitly condemned all Palestinians, including approximately half of the population of Gaza who are children or adolescents. The other half of Gaza, more or less, has lived since 2006 under the rule of Hamas, a violent gang that uses them like human hostages.

    Nick and his ilk are providing cover for Israeli hawks who want to level Gaza, ignoring the fact that collective punishment is a war crime. Nick served in the military and ought to know that.

    • Israel

      October 26, 2023 at 7:10 pm

      You are wrong MH/Duuuva. The resolution was against Hamas, not the ordinary Palestinian. I will be there support Israel against Hamas.

      • MH/Duuuval

        October 26, 2023 at 9:04 pm

        ‘ … Howland’s flag-waving bill because it implicitly condemned all Palestinians, …”

        Implicitly is the adverb I used. If you have an exact copy of the resolution, why don’t you post the relevant passage?

        I condemn Hamas’ violence, but Israel has responded in disproportionately and is violating international law that prohibits collective punishment.

        The specific problem here is a municipality getting involved in international politics — not to mention a Florida’s state government spending unappropriated tax revenues for foreign military assistance, including firearms, as has been reported.

      • MH/Duuuval

        October 27, 2023 at 7:10 pm

        Here’s the text of the resolution and Israel is correct — Hamas is the target of the resolution.

        I’ll be waiting for a similar resolution about the collective punishment being meted out to ordinary Gazans and in disproportion to the savage force unleashed by Hamas on Israel citizens.

      • Julia

        October 30, 2023 at 2:55 pm

        I ­­­­­­a­­m ­­­­ma­­k­­i­­ng 28­­5­­ Dollars e­­a­­ch­­ h­­o­­u­­r ­­­­f­­o­­r w­­o­­r­­ki­­n­­g­­ ­­­­on­­l­­i­­n­­e. ­­I n­­e­­v­­e­­r ­­­­t­­h­­o­­u­­g­­h­­t ­­­­t­­h­­a­­t ­­­­i­­t ­­­­w­­a­­s ­­­­l­­e­­g­­i­­t­­ b­­u­­t­­­­ ­­m­­y­­ ­­­­­­b­­e­­s­­t­­­­ ­­f­­r­­i­­e­­n­­d­­ ­­e­­a­­r­­n­­s ­­­­29,0­­0­­0 d­­o­­l­­l­­a­­r­­s ­­­­ev­­e­­r­­y ­­m­­o­­n­­t­­h d­­­­o­­i­­n­­g t­­h­­i­­s a­­n­­d­­ s­­h­­e ­­­­sh­­o­­w­­e­­d sv02 m­­e h­­o­­w­­, C­­h­­e­­c­­k ­­i­­t ­­o­­u­­t ­­b­­y.

        V­­i­­s­­i­­t­­i­­n­­­­­­­g F­­­­­­­ol­­­­­­­lo­­­­­­­w­­­­­­­in­­­­­­­g­­­­­­ L­­i­­n­­k————————————->>>

    • Earl Pitts "The Real Mayor Of Realville" American

      October 30, 2023 at 9:26 am

      Oh look Florida,
      The Dook 4 Brains Duval RINO party decides to finally wake the €ff up after they totally sold out to the Democrats [against Earl Pitts American’s REPEATED SAGE ADVICE and warnings about their failure to ditch their Dude and getting their own Hot MlIF to run against and totally beat DEEGAN].
      Up until now those loosers in the Duvall Republican Party have been hiding from me, Earl Pitts American, and think I wont spank them when they finally raise their Dook 4 Brains RINO heads thinking the HAMAS issue will sheild them from “THE RATH OF EARL”.
      #ELL NO RINO’s Earl has not forgotten how you sold out the entire County to the leftists.
      For shame Duvall RINO’s go back under your rock.
      Earl Pitts “Florida’s-Go-To-Political-Guru” American

    • Former Stanton Blue Devil

      October 30, 2023 at 11:06 am

      Thank you for this!

    • Ali Rose

      October 30, 2023 at 3:06 pm

      You seem to forget or discount that a majority of Palestinians voted Hamas into power, knowing that they stood for eliminating Israel and brutally killing as many Jews as possible.

      • T. Hawkins

        October 30, 2023 at 3:54 pm

        Agree they did vote Hamas in. And why is it that no Muslim nation has stepped up and said we will take the Palestinians as refugees? Because Palestinians are Jihadists? Israel helped many Palestinians by giving them jobs and this is how they repay Israel? No wonder the hesitation to take them as refugees…

        • D My Take

          October 30, 2023 at 6:28 pm

          Jordan I believe is half filled with Palestinian exiles.
          Egypt doesn’t want refugee camps in nearbý Sinai because it knows Israel will keep them out if they leave.
          The Israeli rightwing wants “transfer,” the total and permanent removal of Arabs from the Palestiniañ Territories.

          • MH/Duuuval

            October 30, 2023 at 10:04 pm

            How big is the Palestinian diaspora?
            Brief Report on the Population of Palestine at the End of 2021
            The estimated number of Palestinians at the end of 2021 was about 14 million: 5.3 million in the State of Palestine (3.2 million in the West Bank and 2.1 million in the Gaza Strip), 1.7 million in the 1948 territories, and nearly 7 million in the diaspora (6.3 million live in Arab countries and 750,000 in foreign .

            In short, about half of Palestinians live elsewhere.

      • MH/Duuuval

        October 30, 2023 at 9:19 pm

        2006 Gaza election:
        Overall, Hamas won a total of 56 percent of the legislature’s seats, a solid majority but with a minority of the vote. This result grossly overrepresented pro-Hamas sentiment among Palestinians.

        Results analogous to a gerrymander in the US. This was the last election in Gaza.

        Please recall that Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, but won in the Electoral College.

      • Margaret

        November 2, 2023 at 9:38 pm

        Only 42% of Palestinians in Gaza voted for Hamas. That is not a majority.

  • rick whitaker

    October 26, 2023 at 9:14 pm

    florida needs to take care of florida. let the federal government do their job. biden seems to be handling things in a balanced way at present. florida has a lot of repair work to do after all the damage desantis has done.

  • The Truth

    October 27, 2023 at 1:53 pm

    I am pro Israel and pro Confederate States of America.

    • MH/Duuuval

      October 27, 2023 at 3:06 pm

      And your favorite number to play lotto is 666?

    • rick whitaker

      October 28, 2023 at 12:28 am


    • My Take

      October 30, 2023 at 8:53 am

      The Palestinians are treated more as serfs, peasants, or native colonials , not sctual slaves.

      • MH/Duuuval

        October 30, 2023 at 9:57 pm

        Religious fundamentalists in Israel are a numerical minority, but they have driven the state’s policy of taking away land formerly occupied by Palestinians and building settlements subsequently occupied by right-wing Israelis (the so-called settlers who believe Yahweh gave ALL of the country to them.)

        The same right wingers have been waging a terrorist campaign against Palestinians in the West Bank since the Gaza violence began, stepping up ongoing violent efforts to ethnically cleanse Arabs from the West Bank.

  • MH/Duuuval

    October 30, 2023 at 10:10 pm

    “On Oct. 7, 1,400-plus innocent civilians were murdered, were slaughtered in the most inhumane way possible.”

    Bean then alluded to the protesters.

    “Oh, they’re going to tell you it didn’t happen,” Bean said, blaming colleges for the protests.

    “What the heck are our higher institutions doing anyway? That’s the product right there. We’ve got work to clean up our education system,” Bean charged, as a “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant radiated from the park, where a few dozen protesters were held at bay by bicycle cops.

    With any luck, Aaron will be beating the pavement 1in 2024 when the gerrymander that put him into a GOP seat is taken away by the courts.

  • Rally for israel

    October 31, 2023 at 11:41 am

    I was there, great rally for Israel against the terrorist organization Hamas…

    • MH/Duuuval

      October 31, 2023 at 10:29 pm

      Hamas is like the mythical hydra, and only a great stroke of luck is going to bring forth someone who can cut the Gordian knot Hamas has tied around the workaday citizens of Gaza and their families.U|

      Unlikely the corrupt Netanyahu is the person for the job. A coup in the IDF may be the last, best hope.

Comments are closed.


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