NEW YORK (TND) — The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York has reportedly banned Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from its premises.
Located in Manhattan, the museum banned DeSantis to promote its message of inclusivity, according to an opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal.
Penned by both former National Security Advisor of the United States Elliott Abrams and Adjunct Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center Eric Cohen, the WSJ op-ed claims the two writers were setting up the annual Jewish Leadership Conference for 2022 at the museum when they were told by staff that DeSantis wasn't welcome there.
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.' Either we disinvite the governor, they said, or our event was unwelcome," the writers say.
Abrams and Cohen are both leaders of the "Tikvah Fund," which hosts the Jewish Leadership Conference. Tikvah is "a 20-year old Jewish educational and cultural institution whose main activity in America is teaching young Jews about Jewish history and civilization," according to the article.
The pair writes they were shocked by the ultimatum, and decided they would rather change venues than disinvite DeSantis. The demand, they say, is unprecedented.
Never before did the museum share their opinions about or seek to assert oversight over our guest speakers,” Cohen said to the New York Post.
Cohen says he reached out to the museum's CEO, Jack Kliger, who told him the museum doesn't host "political figures," but Cohen noted the museum had hosted former Mayor Bill de Blasio, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the past.
Mr. Kliger called me the next day and said their decision was final and that Gov. DeSantis would not be allowed to speak,” the NY Post quotes Cohen saying. “He never sent me a written explanation. We have heard nothing since then.
DeSantis's speech at the event is titled “The Florida Model — And Why it’s Good for the Jews,” according to the conference's website.
Responding to a request for comment from WFLA News, Gov. DeSantis's office says it hopes this is all part of a "misunderstanding," and that the museum will rectify the situation.
Governor DeSantis has always been a steadfast friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel," the statement reportedly said. "We hope that this is all a misunderstanding, and the museum leadership will rectify the situation, because a Holocaust memorial should never be politicized.
New York City Councilmembers Inna Vernikov and Joe Borelli wrote a letter to the museum rebuking the ban.
The lessons of the Holocaust are innumerable,” they wrote. “But one of the most critical ones is this: intolerance in any form, breeds hostility, suppression, and ultimately discrimination.
Speaking with the NY Post, former Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind criticized the move.
If this happened to someone on the left, they would be outraged,” Hikind reportedly said.