Buchanan, McFarland Join Town Hall Battling Antisemitism

Todays News

A recent case of vandalism at the Florida Holocaust Museum alarmed elected officials and Jewish leaders in the region and beyond. Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday hosted an online town hall on antisemitism, where U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, and state Rep. Fiona McFarland, R-Sarasota, both spoke out about their concerns.

“The U.S. Jewish community has experienced a disturbing and dramatic rise in anti-Semitism.  Violence against Jewish people has no place in our country. As a member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Eliminate Anti-Semitism, I am committed to combating this evil ideology,” Buchanan said.

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee was among seven Jewish organizations who helped to organize the event. Organizers estimated some 1,200 participated in the call.

Lawmakers from both parties participated in the call. DeSantis said that showed an important commitment, even at a time when politics is ramping up in Florida.

“Florida, regardless of party, has no tolerance for antisemitic behavior,” DeSantis said. “We need to speak with one voice. We are going to stand strong with our Jewish brothers and sisters.” 

The town hall included calls for the state and federal government to provide better security funding for faith-based institutions at risk of hateful attacks. The Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg was defaced by spray-painted swastikas in November. "Public officials and private citizens must continue to stand up and speak out against antisemitism and other forms of hatred and bigotry,” said state Rep. Ben Diamond, D-St. Petersburg. “Too many Americans feel unsafe right now, and we must work together to change that. We can have no tolerance for antisemitic vandalism, harassment or violence.”

The Jewish community in particular has been the target of increased attacks rooted in hate, McFarland said.

“The Jewish community is too frequently the victim of assault, threats, vandalism, and other forms of intimidation,” McFarland said. “We should not need to say this in the 21st century, but now, more than ever, we must stand together to affirm the safety and security of Israel and of our Jewish friends and neighbors here at home.”

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