LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FLV) – Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition Meeting, Gov. Ron DeSantis slammed the U.S. State Department’s position on characterizing Judea – modern-day Israel – as “occupied territory.”
“I don’t care what the State Department says, they are not occupied territory, it is disputed territory […] I was such a big advocate when I was a congressmen of relocating America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” the governor declared to thunderous applause from the audience.
DeSantis said it’s important to know the “history” of the region.
The Biden Administration reportedly clarified its position on the region, using terminology like “occupation” when describing the situation in the West Bank.
“This has been the longstanding position of previous administrations of both parties over the course of many decades,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said last year.
The Trump Administration, which was vehemently pro-Israel sovereignty and moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the recognized capital city of Israel, did not describe the region as undergoing “occupation.”
The Biden Administration has indicated it intends to work to help form an independent Palestinian state.
DeSantis noted when he was a congressman, he supported moving the embassy to Jerusalem. As governor, he celebrated signing anti-Semitism legislation to ensure Florida’s universities to not become a “hotbed of anti-Jewish sentiment like they have all across this country.”
“I’m proud to sign this bill to make clear through a bipartisan effort that anti-Semitism has no place in our state and our educational institutions will not tolerate discrimination against the Jewish people,” the governor said in May 2019. “I was especially proud to hold a ceremonial bill signing in Jerusalem. Florida is the most Israel-friendly state in the country and as long as I’m Governor, we will continue to stand with the Jewish community.”
At the meeting, DeSantis touted his landslide victory in the November elections, and said he believes his campaign garnered a larger share of the Jewish vote along with flipping historically blue counties like Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.
“We won for the first time in almost 40 years, Palm Beach County, and we don’t know precisely what the final number is, but we can say that we won the highest share of the Jewish vote for any Republican candidate in Florida history.”
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