By Lydia Nusbaum
May 9, 2022 Updated 10:05 A.M. ET
NEW YORK (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis was banned from speaking at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, according to an editorial piece written by two organizers who tried to put on an event at the museum.
Elliott Abrams and Eric Cohen are leaders with The Tikvah Fund, which aims to teach young Jews about Jewish history and civilization. The Tikvah Fund has held multiple events over the years at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.
The organizers said they were planning a Jewish Leadership Conference at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, until the museum ‘canceled’ the group for inviting Governor DeSantis to speak.
“We were working closely with the museum on the details for the June 12 event—until, out of the blue, we were told by the museum staff that Mr. DeSantis didn’t ‘align with the museum’s values and its message of inclusivity,’” the editorial piece said. “Either we disinvite the governor, they said, or our event was unwelcome.”
The Tikvah leaders said they invited Governor DeSantis to discuss how Florida has contributed to the “vitality of Jewish life” in the Sunshine state.
“A lot of people dislike Mr. DeSantis, and the museum staff must have asked: What if there are protests? What if our progressive donors complain? In the current environment, protecting free speech requires moral and political courage,” the event organizers said in the WSJ piece.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage said in a statement that “no one was banned or cancelled.”
“No one was banned or cancelled. The fact is that no contract with the Tikvah Fund was ever signed for this rental event to be held at the Museum and no deposit was ever made,” the statement said on Twitter.
The museum said it welcomes Governor DeSantis to visit the museum, specifically the new exhibition called The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do.
“This is not a free speech or censorship issue. The Tikvah Fund is trying to create a fight where none exists. This was simply a contractual and logistical decision,” the museum said.
The Tikvah Fund leaders said the Jewish Leadership Conference will continue at another location where DeSantis will speak.
Christina Pushaw, the Governor’s Press Secretary, said the team was not involved in organizing the New York City event and cannot comment on the “veracity” of the museum’s statement.
“All I will say is that I do not believe that Elliott Abrams or Eric Cohen would ever intentionally fabricate a story for political gain, and it is surprising that the museum’s latest statement seems to be accusing them of something like that,” Pushaw said.
Pushaw continued to list the Governor’s accomplishments as a “champion” of the Jewish people. He allocated state funding for security for Jewish day schools, enacted legislation to ensure Hatzalah ambulances can operate in Florida, and created a required Holocaust curriculum teaching students about the horrific events at every grade level.
“As long as Governor DeSantis is in office, Florida will continue to be a safe and welcoming home for the Jewish people. That is the message the governor has always delivered and plans to deliver in New York City,” Pushaw said. “This message transcends partisan politics. And, for that matter, a Holocaust memorial should never be politicized.”
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