Does Florida law ban the state from taking action against a dentist for antisemitic remarks?

randy fine (Large)
Rep. Randy Fine was among those who championed the law, which came amid concerns that doctors could lose their licenses for speaking out about COVID-19 vaccines and other treatments.

Florida legislators are calling for regulators to suspend the license of a dentist who has made antisemitic statements, but the question is whether a new law championed by Republicans in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic will make that goal more difficult.

Rep. Randy Fine was among those who championed the 2023 law, aimed at protecting the free speech rights of health care providers. It came amid concerns that doctors could lose their licenses for speaking out about COVID-19 vaccines and other treatments.

This past week, Fine — a Brevard County Republican and the only Jewish Republican in the Legislature — wrote a letter to the Florida Board of Dentistry, asking members to suspend the license of Fadi Kablawi.

Fine cited several instances of Kablawi making antisemitic statements in his preachings, all of which came after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel, in which more than 1,400 were killed and more than 200 civilians were taken hostage. Those comments included referring to Jews as “the brothers of apes and pigs” during an April 26 sermon.

“Oh Allah, annihilate the tyrannical Jews,” Fine quoted Kablawi as saying. In clips of the sermon circulating on social media Kablawi says the Israeli army is “worse than the Nazis,” and suggests that Jewish people are harvesting the organs of Palestinian children.

“Practicing medicine in Florida is a privilege — not a right — and as the Chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, I call on you to immediately suspend Dr. Kablawi’s license and commence a thorough investigation of his practice,” Fine wrote to Jose Mellado, Chair of the Board of Dentistry.

Fine chairs the powerful House Health Care Services Committee, and he helped steer the legislation that bans the Department of Health or the medical licensing Boards from taking disciplinary action against, or denying a license to, an individual because the individual has spoken or written publicly about a health care service or public policy.

Rep. Joel Rudman, a physician and Republican from Navarre, sponsored the legislation (HB 1403) in the House, telling members that the bill “reaffirms, codifies and furthermore protects our two most God given rights in the field of medicine: the rights of medical conscience and the right to free speech by health care providers.”

Fine told Florida Politics he does not think his call to have Kablawi’s license suspended runs afoul of the 2023 law he helped champion.

“What I will say is not everything he said, while offensive, would trigger his license revocation. What triggers his license revocation is the calling for the death of his patients,” Fine said.

“The reason I did what I did is to raise awareness. This doctor, this dentist has been saying this sort of thing for years. It’s all documented, I just didn’t know about it. So the good news is whether he loses his license or not he’ll probably lose his practice because he practices in one of the most Jewish areas of Florida, and they don’t have to go to him anymore.”

Kablawi said during an interview with WPLG that his comments were taken “out of context” and that his speeches are political statements about the war in Gaza and that his prayers are not threats. He also said he would consider legal action if his license was suspended.

The members of the Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus also called for the suspension of Kablawi’s license saying they were “concerned with Dr. Kablawi’s incendiary rhetoric and the potential danger it poses to his patients.”

Unlike Fine, the Chair of the caucus — Democratic Rep. Michael Gottliebdid not support the legislation. In addition to banning Boards from taking action against health care providers for freedom of speech, the measure created statutes to ensure that providers and payors can “care for patients in a manner consistent with their moral, ethical, and religious convictions.”

Gotlieb, a lawyer, did agree with Fine that the speech isn’t protected.

“When you look at the law, you have to understand that it’s implicit in the bill that passed, that the speech that is protected is constitutionally protected speech, not speech that’s not constitutionally protected,” Gottlieb said. “And calling for a genocide and inciting a genocide is not constitutionally protected speech. I can’t go into a movie theater and scream fire, right? So not all speech is constitutionally protected.”

The law that legislators passed — and which was called the “Physicians Freedom of Speech” measure when signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis — was approved on a 28-11 party-line vote in the Senate and a 84-34 vote in the House.

Meanwhile, Fine has called on the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) to suspend the taxpayer scholarships of 74 students who attend the Reviver Academy, a school that is owned and operated by Kablawi’s mosque. The scholarships total more than $500,000 annually. “We are literally funding the training of future terrorists. Not in Iran. Here. This has to stop and it has to stop immediately.”

Fine asked the FDOE to suspend the mosque’s eligibility for the scholarships and “commence a thorough investigation into the school.”

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • Dont Say FLA

    May 15, 2024 at 2:32 pm

    This law allegedly enacted for “protecting freedom” was called “An act relating to protections of medical conscience.”

    Given that name, you might expect this law to defend this dentist’s right to spew nonsense, but no, the local yocal “Free” State of Florida governmental goon squad does not approve of this guy’s freedoms, so they invariably and predictably wield so-called pro-freedom legislation to shut down this guy’s freedom.

    Just like with religious freedoms and family freedoms.
    You are free to be Christian and you are free to be straight and married and hopefully white.

    If you’re not in the “in” clique, freedom laws mean your freedom is taken while the “in” clique enjoys stomping on your face.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 15, 2024 at 3:21 pm

      Whoops, too high, again. I misread this as Fine attempting to use the medical conscience law to revoke this dentist’s license to work on teefs. Fine is not really doing that. At least not yet, he isn’t.

  • Michael K

    May 15, 2024 at 2:39 pm

    I wish Randy Fine would reflect on the harm his hateful and disgusting comments regarding LGBTQ people have on people in this state. His bigotry and ignorance is appalling.

    • Ocean Joe

      May 16, 2024 at 6:36 am

      If this is your main concern, please remember that Israel is the ONLY place in the middle east where two men or two women can walk down the street holding hands, let alone live together openly.

      As for Randy Fine, he’s a moron. His bigotry matches the doctor he complains about. As for the doctor, more evidence they never wanted to live in peace with Jews, but as far as I can tell we are all “brothers of apes” except for the creationist fundamental evangelical types who used to put teachers in jail for teaching evolution.

  • just sayin

    May 15, 2024 at 2:58 pm

    If it doesn’t, it should. And I hate this new wave of antisemitism.

  • rick whitaker

    May 15, 2024 at 3:19 pm

    JUSTSAYIN, you just said ” you hate”, so a hater is hating another hater. that’s why you and your religion are trash. i am a hater, i hate religion. i don’t act like i’m not a hater, i am. so are you. i hate religion, you hate because of your religion.


    This rant of his is an attempted abuse of the State’s power to license the professions. It is an excellent example why the State should get out of that business entirely.

    Randy, you want to boycott this Clown, go right ahead. (I’d join you if I could, Bro). Use the power of the Free Market. Feel free to encourage others to do the same. However, do not try to use the power of the State to shut him down totally. Even more importantly, do not abuse your position as Chair of a powerful legislative committee to shut him down.

    FYI, the platform of the Libertarian Party of Florida (Section V, paragraph 4) says: “…We call for abolishing all business and occupational licenses. The right of the people to conduct business is inherent and should not require the permission of the State …”.

  • My Take

    May 15, 2024 at 4:16 pm

    “Only the people WE hate are allowed to be villified!”

  • Richard D

    May 15, 2024 at 4:32 pm

    The pro-Palestinian dentist is correct in saying that the Israelis are conducting genocide against the Palestinians. Netanyahu himself has made it clear that the Israeli’s goal is the creation of a “Greater Israel” that will be exclusively Jewish. In fact, Palestinians are not the Jews’ only target for elimination. In the region of Palestine, there is also a Christian minority whom the Jews are persecuting and targeting for elimination. As stated, the Israeli-conducted genocide is designed to eliminate all non-Jews from Palestine, leaving Jews as the only occupants of the region. The “antisemitism” diatribe is intended to silence anyone who tells the truth about what the Jews are really up to.

    • Ocean Joe

      May 16, 2024 at 6:44 am

      What they are “up to” is trying to survive. If you wait about one year the population of Gaza will be higher than it was before October 7 due to their birthrate. Genocide is not the correct term nor is it antisemitic to criticize Israel or it’s policies. Arabs are semites too.
      Nobody seems to remember Alawite/Shias in Syria slaughtering 500,000 fellow Arab Syrian and causing the mass exodus of millions more. I guess it’s OK when Arabs kill each other.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 16, 2024 at 7:19 am

      I can see where folks are coming from with saying this is a genocide, but expanding scope ever so slightly there’s the West Bank where nothing’s genocidal is happening. Key question about West Bank, however, is: Yet?

      When Israel offers some excuse and initiates “victory over Hamas” in the West Bank , at that point we can 100% call it genocide. Until then, or clear plans for that, “genocide” is a little loose with the lips despite the glaring obvious atrocities that are going and despite the fact the whole thing with Hamas in Gaza was manufactured via claims of ignorance it was coming, waiting for it, nothing happening, move some folks over by the fence and wait for it, boom: “Who could ever have seen that coming!?? Our intelligence failed us. We must revenge now!”

      • rick whitaker

        May 16, 2024 at 5:59 pm

        DSF , sounds good.

    • Eli

      May 17, 2024 at 9:13 am

      Mr. Richard ! Just to let you know, in Bitlechem the Christian people were the majority (90%) after the Palestine took over the it’s dropped to 10-15% . The only place in the Middle East that people are free is Israel.

      • rick whitaker

        May 17, 2024 at 2:59 pm

        ELI you are religious i assume. religion is death.

  • Sickoflegnonsense

    May 15, 2024 at 5:10 pm

    If you see kaye… Randy Fine

  • My Take

    May 15, 2024 at 6:46 pm

    Incompetents having guns is a right.
    Bigots having antisemitism is a right.
    Freedom ain’t always easy.

  • Ocean Joe

    May 16, 2024 at 6:43 am

    What they are “up to” is trying to survive. If you wait about one year the population of Gaza will be higher than it was before October 7 due to their birthrate. Genocide is not the correct term nor is it antisemitic to criticize Israel or it’s policies. Arabs are semites too.
    Nobody seems to remember Alawite/Shias in Syria slaughtering 500,000 fellow Arab Syrian and causing the mass exodus of millions more. I guess it’s OK when Arabs kill each other.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 16, 2024 at 7:14 am

      Does re-population help the dead not be dead? Does re-population help survivors feel any less loss? Does re-population feed a famine? Does re-population rebuild infrastructure, commercial/business, or residential?

      If “they” wanted to survive, why did “they” live in the danger zone where it used to be prohibited to live due to the danger posed by some folks on the other side of the fence? The folks that lived there, they were probably naive. But Netenyahu, why did he and Trump allow residences they knew or should have known would ultimately result in something like October 7 2023 which is why it used to be a no-housing zone?

      Is is OK when Arabs kill each other? Nope. But at least they are keeping it in the family? The spouse murdering their spouse and kids next door really is not your problem (assuming it wasn’t your fling with one of them contributing to the hostilities)

      Speaking of Arabs being Semites, are you a Margaret fan too, OJ?

      • rick whitaker

        May 16, 2024 at 11:02 pm

        DSF i thought oj’s comment mentioning re-population rate was extremely racist, did i get it wrong?

    • rick whitaker

      May 16, 2024 at 6:02 pm

      OJ , when anybody kills anybody for so-called religious reasons, it’s always murder.

Comments are closed.


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