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NYC Jewish Heritage Museum bans Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

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Manhattan’s Museum of Jewish Heritage barred a philanthropic group from featuring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a June conference at the site and forced organizers to relocate.

Tikvah Fund leaders Elliott Abrams and Eric Cohen told The Post Friday that museum brass advised them to either disinvite DeSantis or take the annual Jewish Leadership Conference elsewhere.

Cohen said they were shocked by the ultimatum.

DeSantis' speech is entitled "The Florida Model -- And Why it's Good for the Jews."
Gov. DeSantis’ speech is entitled “The Florida Model — And Why it’s Good for the Jews.”
AP
The Tikvah Fund event has relocated to Pier 60.
The Tikvah Fund event has relocated to Pier 60.

“Never before did the museum share their opinions about or seek to assert oversight over our guest speakers,” he said Friday.

Tikvah leaders refused to cancel DeSantis and instead moved the entire event to Pier 60.

Cohen said they were already planning catering when staffers at the Battery Park museum began objecting to DeSantis’ presence.

Tikvah Fund leader Eric Cohen said he was shocked by the museum's decision.
Tikvah Fund leader Eric Cohen said he was shocked by the museum’s decision.
Getty Images
Demonstrators hold a sign at a rally against Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Demonstrators hold a sign at a rally against Gov. Ron DeSantis.
AP

“In disbelief, I spoke directly to the museum CEO, Jack Kliger.,” Cohen said. “He said that the museum does not host political figures, whether from the left or the right.”

But Cohen noted that the museum had hosted Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former Mayor Bill DeBlasio and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo without incident in years past.

“Mr. Kliger called me the next day and said their decision was final and that Gov. DeSantis would not be allowed to speak,” Cohen said. “He never sent me a written explanation. We have heard nothing since then.”

Museum President Jack Kliger refused to comment on the situation.
Museum President Jack Kliger refused to comment on the situation.
Gregory P. Mango

Titled “Jews, Israel, and the Future of the West,” the Tikvah conference is also slated to host former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and journalist Bari Weiss, according to Tikvah’s website.

DeSantis’ speech is entitled “The Florida Model — And Why it’s Good for the Jews,” the site states.

The brash Republican politico has vaulted to the GOP’s fore in recent years, inspiring both fierce loyalty from supporters and staunch opposition from critics.

“Governor DeSantis has always been a steadfast friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” spokesperson Christina Pushaw said Friday, contending that “he has enacted policies that help Florida’s Jewish community thrive.”

The museum — whose board is chaired by developer Bruce Ratner — did not respond to a request for comment.

Reached by phone, Kliger also declined to address the controversy.

The ban brought a rebuke from City Council members Joe Borelli and Inna Vernikov, who co-authored a letter to the museum Thursday.

“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.”

Dov Hikind, a former Brooklyn state assemblyman, also ripped the move.

“If this happened to someone on the left they would be outraged,” he told The Post.

Cohen asserted that “powerful institutions have created a climate of fear.”

The museum previously hosted former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo without issue.
The museum previously hosted former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo without issue.
AP
The conference will also feature journalist Bari Weiss.
The conference will also feature journalist Bari Weiss.
REUTERS

“Our strong preference was to hold the conference at the museum as planned,” he said. “Our strong hope was that they would reverse their initial decision. But they did not, and we felt that we had an obligation to speak up, especially given that their reasons for turning us away were neither honest nor compelling.”



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