Jewish Heritage Museum Denies Accusation of Banning DeSantis

Museum of Jewish Heritage. (googlemaps)

Last Thursday, leaders of the Tikvah Fund, an organization that supports Jewish educational causes in the United States and Israel, accused the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage of refusing to host an event, because one of the speakers was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

In an op-ed article published in the Wall Street Journal, Eric Cohen and Elliot Abrams, CEO and Chairman of Tikvah respectively, alleged that the museum was ready to give the green light to the organization’s annual Jewish Leadership Conference, until the museum learned that one of the speakers was DeSantis. “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,” they wrote.

The organizers invited DeSantis to speak about what others can learn from the “Florida model” of a Jewish community.

The museum was quick to dismiss the claims. “Let us be clear: No one was banned or cancelled.” They tweeted. “This was simply a contractual and logistical decision. We welcome Governor DeSantis and elected officials from across the spectrum to visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage.”

Condemnation of the museum came swiftly as well. Councilwoman Inna Vernikov tweeted: “Not buying this. There are multiple reports indicating staff was against this. Will you allow Gov. DeSantis to speak at MJH?”

“They’re not actually denying that these conversations took place,” Vernikov told Hamodia. “They’re just saying that the Governor is invited to visit the museum, they’re not saying that he’s allowed to speak there,” she said.

Vernikov announced Sunday that she was pulling $5,000 of discretionary funding that she had planned to give the museum. “Today, I did something I would’ve never imagined doing in my wildest dreams: I’ve pulled funding from a museum that educates the world about the atrocities of the Holocaust.” she said.

The museum has invited politically charged figured in the past, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. “It’s very ironic that they’ve had anti-Israel politicians like AOC speak there, at a museum that teaches about the atrocities of the Holocaust, but a governor who they politically disagree with, who’s been a friend to Israel and the Jewish community, that they don’t allow.” Vernikov said.

Hamodia asked MJH if DeSantis would be welcomed to speak in the future, and the museum declined to answer.

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