Ron DeSantis has been promoting his leadership of Florida as a model for leading the United States, even though he hasn’t (yet) formally announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.
Last week, for instance, he told Fox News that by imitating Florida, “we can get America back on track and back on our foundations.”
This week, he reiterated his pitch with a new angle: He said that his tight ties to Israel serve as a model for the U.S.-Israel relationship and that he is prepared to make that argument in Jerusalem the next month.
DeSantis announced his attendance at a conference on April 27 that was cosponsored by The Jerusalem Post and the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance.
“At a time of unnecessarily strained relations between Jerusalem and Washington, Florida serves as a bridge between the American and Israeli people,” he said. “Celebrate the faces of Israel” is the event’s slogan.
The “unnecessary strain” DeSantis alluded to is probably a reference to the tenseness of the relationship between the Biden administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over the latter’s proposed overhaul of the Israeli judiciary, which would significantly reduce the power and independence of the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, on Netanyahu’s judicial reform, which the prime minister just put on hold in the face of sizable protests, Biden remarked, “They cannot continue down this route.”
In his response to Biden on Twitter, Netanyahu praised the U.S.-Israeli cooperation but said that Israel is a sovereign nation that bases its decisions on the desire of its citizens rather than outside demands, even from the closest of allies.
DeSantis underlined how close to Israel his administration has been in his response to the Post: He hosted one of his first Cabinet sessions in Jerusalem in 2019 and strengthened regulations limiting the state’s interactions with businesses who boycott Israel.
In addition, he referred to the flood of Orthodox Jews into his form during the pandemic, when Florida’s prohibitions on schools were less strict than in the northeast.
The largest-ever trade delegation from the Sunshine State to the Jewish state, DeSantis added in the statement, “went to Israel for a state visit shortly after my inauguration for my first term as governor of Florida.”
Since then, we have improved ties between Florida and Israel by attracting more Israeli businesses to our state, combating the BDS scourge, and being home to the nation’s fastest-growing Jewish community.
Also, DeSantis enjoys support from organizations that look out for the interests of Orthodox Jews, who lean Republican.
That was interpreted as a hint that DeSantis was getting closer to deciding whether to run in 2024.
Additionally, a group of influential Republicans was hired this week by an independent political action organization supporting DeSantis.
DeSantis has already amassed $80 million in his state political committee, an incredible sum for a governor who is not eligible to fight for reelection because of term limitations.
According to The Jerusalem Post, DeSantis will address “a throng of 400 people, including roughly 120 U.S. Jewish philanthropists,” of which at least some will probably be significant political donors.