Ron DeSantis said antisemitism on Florida campuses more troubling than Elon Musk’s posts

DeSantis Musk
'I have constituents in Florida whose kids don't even want to go to campus.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis said pro-Hamas demonstrators promoting antisemitic messages on college campuses pose a greater threat than right-wing voices online. That includes controversial comments by Elon Musk, owner of X and one of the world’s wealthiest men.

“We have Jewish students fleeing for their lives because you have an angry mob, and yet they have not done what they need to do to protect the safety and well-being of those students,” DeSantis told CNN’s State of the Union. “I have constituents in Florida whose kids don’t even want to go to campus in the advent of this because of such a hostile environment.”

CNN host Jake Tapper during a Sunday exclusive interview pressed DeSantis on controversial comments made by Musk. After a user spread the theory Jewish people intend to replace White people, Musk commented, “You have said the actual truth.”

That led to a flood of advertisers abandoning the platform. DeSantis, a long-time ally of Musk, declined to condemn Musk’s remarks.

Tapper noted Musk later clarified he was speaking specifically about the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish groups.

“I know you’re very upfront when you see antisemitism on the left,” Tapper said. “Is antisemitism on the right something that concerns you as well?”

DeSantis said he condemned antisemitism “across the board” and he had not seen Musk’s comments, even after Tapper read them on air. The Florida Governor said he has been surprised by the level of antisemitism across Florida since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.

“And I’m somebody who signed breakthrough legislation in Florida to combat antisemitism on college campuses,” he said. “And yet what you’ve seen come through since then — and you have seen it on both sides — but I will say this. The difference is that on the left, that tends to be attached to some major institutional power, like some of our most august universities, whereas I think on the right, it tends to be more fringe voices that are doing it.”

He went on to dismiss anti-Israel comments by conservative pundit Candace Owens and Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk, a part-time Florida resident.

“With respect on that, to have somebody who’s, like, blogging and doing stuff like that … okay that’s an issue,” DeSantis said. “But to compare that for how some of these most powerful universities in the country have responded to this?”

On Musk in particular, DeSantis defended the billionaire, who he said has been the subject of media distrust.

“Elon has had a target on his back ever since he purchased Twitter, because I think he’s taking it in a direction that a lot of people who are used to controlling the narrative don’t like,” DeSantis said.

Of note, DeSantis has come under fire from Jewish leaders on the left and right in Florida for doing too little to curb both right-wing Nazi demonstrators and left-wing Hamas sympathizers stepping up activity in the state.

After the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Nazi protesters for flying anti-Jewish propaganda over I-4, Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried called the arrest insufficient.

“Ron can point to this arrest as proof of action — and I’m sure he will — but we all know it’s not enough,” Fried said in September. “For what seems like the thousandth time, we call on Ron to do the bare minimum: vocally condemn neo-Nazism and all forms of hate speech.”

Meanwhile, state Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican who sponsored the antisemitism law DeSantis referenced on CNN, recently withdrew his endorsement of DeSantis over the issue. He posted in October that students don’t feel safe on Florida campuses because DeSantis has failed to enforce the law.

“Refusing to enforce the law was the final straw in losing my support,” Fine posted on X. “Jewish students at USF don’t feel safe, and there is no airplane they can board to go somewhere they will.”

Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian students groups in Florida legally challenged any efforts to shut down demonstrations and student groups behind them as a violation of First Amendment rights.

University officials have also declined to enforce the law in some cases and said university officials cannot legally deactivate student organizations without risking personal liability.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


34 comments

  • jo028229

    November 19, 2023 at 11:28 am

    Gov. Ron DeSantis said pro-Hamas demonstrators promoting antisemitic messages on college campuses pose a greater threat than right-wing voices online.

    Pro-Hamas demonstrators who speak out against Israel aren’t anymore antisemitic than an Israeli speaking out against Hamas. Is either side speaking out against their language group? Semitic, like Indo-Ayrian, is a language group of which both Israelis and Arabs belong and not an ethnicity or a nationality. American politicians and members of the news media need to understand this. Sad that I’ve even seen Jewish members of these two groups use antisemitic incorrectly.

    In speaking against any one of these groups one should use either a nationality such as anti-Israel or anti-Palestine or an ethnic group such as anti-Israeli for someone born in Israel, anti-Jewish for someone born outside of Israe and of Jewish faith, or anti-Palestinian for someone born in Palestine. One can even use anti-Hamas or anti-IDF.

    • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

      November 19, 2023 at 3:27 pm

      Good afternoon America,
      Ironically some of the most antisemitic people on the planet are American Jews. They have elected weak on Muzzy’s Democrats exclusively knowing full well their Democratic politicians would hasten the destruction of Isreal by constantly bending over to the Muzzy’s and appeasing the Muzzys with Billions of dollars to destroy Isreal with.
      The old “OH Earl your so mean we didn’t know” just won’t fly. Y’all knew”.
      Then we got the 💩 4 🧠’s rest of the anti jew protesters in America.
      All of you, each and every one, if right now you were transported into the custody of the Muzzy’s they would be looking for chairs to tie you to and hurle that chair and you off the highest building in Muzzy-Town.
      Y’all are wrong. Y’all need to do better.
      EPA
      *fake hate me all y’all want but you can not change what your actions have done to Isreal…why….why do y’all have such hate for Isreal*

    • My Take

      November 20, 2023 at 8:57 am

      “In speaking against any one of these groups one should use [examples]”
      ======
      Exactly so.

  • JD

    November 19, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    I think this is a deflection from the real antisemitic groups in Florida – the marching Nazi’s with ties to militia groups.

    Let’s talk about the potentially tied state guard and militant groups as well.

    Cast the light there first please.

    • My Take

      November 19, 2023 at 2:29 pm

      “Let’s talk about the potentially tied ᛋᛋtate Guard and militant groups as well.
      “Cast the light there first please.”
      ======
      Roehm Deᛋᛋantis
      Yeah, yeah, SA, I know.

    • Kathryn A.

      November 19, 2023 at 3:48 pm

      I so agree with JD and this state guard only answerable to the governor and with no explanation given, but out tax money is being used and is very troublesome.

      The comments from the governor does not give much of a condemnation of antisemitism, but trying to deflect and not answer on Elon Musk’s posts. So worrisome! Learn from history folks–look at what happened in WWII.

  • My Take

    November 19, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    After a user spread the theory Jewish people intend to replace White people,
    ======
    It wouldn’t be easy to get dumber.

  • My Take

    November 19, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    Not feeling safe is very unfortunare.
    Not being safe is a lot more important, especially officially.
    Is it actually so?
    Liars like DeSSgustus like to equate the two.

  • RightWingChristian

    November 19, 2023 at 1:56 pm

    As a christian, I believe both sides of the Hamas and Israeli conflict are deserving their wrath of god for refusing Jesus as their savior.

    Is this Anti Semetic?

    • My Take

      November 19, 2023 at 2:17 pm

      I think it is Thor, smiting the malevolent monotheists.

    • Ocean Joe

      November 21, 2023 at 6:30 pm

      So how would you explain what is happening to the Ukrainians?

  • ScienceBLVR

    November 19, 2023 at 2:03 pm

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion, too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace…
    Lennon was right about the
    “No religion” mantra

  • My Take

    November 19, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    Antisemitism is allowed on a free American university.
    How you show it is what has many restrictions.
    And which bias do you think is most prevalent: antiJew or antiBlack?
    DeSSgustus shows little concern for the latter.

  • PeterH

    November 19, 2023 at 3:23 pm

    Liar! Give us the names of your constituents!?!? Student protests are protected by First Amendment rights. There is a difference between a 52 year old antisemite and college teenagers with a point to make about peace in the Middle East!

  • My Take

    November 19, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    Dishonest people intemtionally misequate anti-Likud, anti-Zionism, anti-settlers’ movement, anti-IDF with anti-Jew antisemitism.
    This despite many of the former being Jewish.
    The declining distinction between outlooks of AIPAC and the once-fine ÀDL of B’nai Brith has degraded that latter organization.

  • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

    November 19, 2023 at 4:02 pm

    Good evening gentle reader,
    Thank you for wading thru all the nonsense above posted by the Lefty’s.
    If you want to relax your sphincter’s and get a great night’s sleep tonight just ignore the Lefty’s and re-read The Sage Knowledge Drop of Earl in my above post.
    Thank you my Patriots, EPA

    • JD

      November 19, 2023 at 6:39 pm

      You and your relaxed anus fetish – and we need to worry about drag queens reading books to kids in a public setting? GTFO groomer.

      • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

        November 19, 2023 at 7:28 pm

        JD you really should relax your sphincter it’s for your overall health and not some sort of Homer testicle thing.
        Thanks JD now get some rest and try to think positive thoughts. Research has proven that 💩 4 🧠’ leftists live 10 years less than fine American Patriots and also, JD people who relax their sphincter’s get an additional 10 years.
        That’s 10 + 10 = 20 extra good years of chasing the ladies and hitting the poon JD. Follow Earl Pitts American for a longer happier life.
        Have a great evening JD,
        Earl Pitts American

        • JD

          November 20, 2023 at 10:43 am

          I always think positive thoughts. Like Mel Fischer, I think “Today’s the day” (that Earl does not post anymore on FP).

  • My Take

    November 19, 2023 at 4:15 pm

    Has there been a documented:
    Threat against Jews (especially students)
    Overt support of Hamas (especially the terrorism)
    From a pro-Palestinian student group in Florida?

  • Tom

    November 19, 2023 at 4:31 pm

    Interesting. This morning on the Sunday talk shows, he was saying that he hadn’t seen the tweet from musk and had no context for it. Now he’s all ronnie on the spot with Florida college campuses. Something doesn’t smell right.

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 20, 2023 at 4:48 am

    Lol Desantis who has destroyed Florida higher education with his bs “woke” and book bans and take over of New College has the gall to accuse and ignore racist !!!! So same as usual with Desantis! Lock up Desantis such a liar!

  • My Take

    November 20, 2023 at 9:08 am

    When a burst of antisemitism (antiIsrael or antiJew, I can’t tell from here) immediately follows an intense onģoing bombing of a civilian city, one might suspect there is a direct cause and effect. Blaming some supposed longer-term university condition is purposely misleading.
    If there were no bombing there would be an occasional BDS sign.

    • Ocean Joe

      November 21, 2023 at 8:38 pm

      And if Hamas hadn’t invaded Israel on Oct 7, the little 6 year old Arab-American boy in Chicago would not have been murdered by the landlord, a person he knew and trusted. There would be no bombing. There would be no hostages.
      There would be no humanitarian crisis.
      Wake up to what Hamas brings. Violence has been used by the Palestinians since I was a child. It has never brought them anything but more suffering.
      Anti-semitism merely needs an excuse to come bubbling out, it’s always been there.
      I dont think Israel had any alternative, meanwhile Iran throws logs on the fire while it’s primitive religious theocracy allows a young woman to be beaten to death for refusing to wear a head covering. Check your sympathies.

      • My Take

        November 22, 2023 at 12:33 am

        The Palestinians protested mostly peacefully . . . for a generation and it got them nowhere. Then the Intefadas and thus some small degree of self rule. What are Israel’s lessons? You need to fight.
        But it should just be IDF and rightest officials targeted, and businesses and infrastructure, not plain civilians, and never children.
        Hamas are the vilest of terrorists. But Likud-led Israel is a hateful pariah state.

  • My Take

    November 20, 2023 at 9:28 am

    When the bombing and shooting (ahem) die down, what will be the nature of US citizen protests àgainst Israeli colonialism and thuggery in the territories? Has it changed with Gaza? Or will it return to mainly BDS? I kind of like BDS. Totally nonviolent. Totally voluntary. Must have some economic effect (to have triggered all the whining). And relies mainly on publicity and informing, with benefits of their own. The reactions of dregs like DeSSantis are laughable. “If they won’t buy from outside businesses in (neo)colonized West Bank, we won’t allow buying from them. But their boycott is deep sin and òurs is saintly.”

  • Joe

    November 20, 2023 at 9:48 am

    Sure, Jan.

  • Casey D.

    November 20, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    I sure hope Ron’s buttsucking will get Elon to open up his wallet…

  • My Take

    November 21, 2023 at 10:01 am

    What will Fine fume and fuss, and perhaps for our amusement, fulminate about next?

  • My Take

    November 21, 2023 at 4:17 pm

    The Israel-Firsters had an odd sensitivity this time to “colonialist” and “river to the sea.”

  • annexedMy Take

    November 22, 2023 at 12:46 am

    Hitler and his Nazis — “We want a Jew-free Europe. A Third Reich Europe”
    .
    Likud and its further extreme-rìght fringe of Nazionists — “We want an Arab-free Israel. Eretz Israel, with the emptied territories annexed.”
    .
    Don’t expect peace all that soon.

  • My Take

    November 22, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    I easily may have missed it.
    But I have not seen any actual report of pro-HAMAS declarations, and certainly not among Florida student protesters. Pro-Palestine and antiIsrael aplenty, but not pro-Hamas. At least not since the attack.
    So did I miss this, or are the Likud-Lickers lying?

  • My Take

    November 23, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    CNN –> The law clerk ón Trump’s fraud trial gets 30-50 threatening messages per day. About half are antisemitic.
    Easy to see who the rabid Jew-haters are: Trumpists, MAGA, Republicans.
    GOP — The Party of Hate

    • My Take

      November 23, 2023 at 12:26 pm

      . . . antisemitic.
      =========
      Easy . . .

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories