DeSantis Cancelled from NY Museum of Jewish Heritage Event in ‘Purely Political Move’ – Opinion

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was slated to speak in June in front of the Jewish Leadership Conference at New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage until he was suddenly disinvited, according to the event’s backers. Evidently, he didn’t “align with the museum’s values and its message of inclusivity.”

Code words for, “We’re trying to be woke, so take a hike.”

Eric Cohen and Elliott Abrams are the co-chairs for the Jewish Leadership Conference. The conference is scheduled for June 12, and is backed by conservative Tikvah Fund. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial on May 5, explaining their reasoning.

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 moved the event. They did a great job! They weren’t about to go quietly, though, brutally unloading on the museum:

We know things are bad when a Jewish institution — in this case, a museum whose purpose is to keep Jewish heritage alive by remembering the Holocaust — turns on its own and tries to make a virtue of its own intolerance. What drives our elite institutions — museums, universities, large corporations, the media — to shut down speakers and ideas that question progressive orthodoxy? Many times, it is cowardice.

Since that piece ran, there’s been a lot of back and forth between the two sides. After having written the contract, the Museum wrote their own letter on May 9. They gave technical explanations as to why they didn’t sign it. There’s this outright falsehood:

The charter prohibits rentals solely for religious or political reasons. Anyone who asks to rent space is informed of this fact.

False. In the past, they’ve hosted Chuck Schumer, AOC, former NY governor Andrew Cuomo and former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, among others. Nary a political soul among that crowd, I’m sure!

Once The Museum spat out that whopper, it was hard to believe anything else they cited as reasons for the cancellation: scheduling, resources, security—all things you think would have been worked out BeforeThe contract was sent to them for signature. If Michelle Obama wanted to make an appearance, I’m betting they’d figure it out.

Nice tweet, but you still don’t explain why the event was canceled.  Adding to the ping-pong nature of this controversy, Elliot and Cohen replied Tuesday, again in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, this time stating that the cancellation “was entirely a political decision.”

Phew. Phew. My head is spinning.

Why would a museum of all places think it’s appropriate to wave their “woke” flag? You’d think they’d have noticed that that course has often been disastrous lately for corporations (think: Disney). What about DeSantis? The Museum never says (except for weak word salad excuses like, he “would undermine its mission of teaching tolerance”).

They’re already feeling the heat, though as rabbis decried the decision:

These letters from the Wall Street Journal reveal that donors also weighed in.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage was one of the first institutions I supported in raising funds. In fact, it is sad that they have lost sight of their purpose. Like the ACLU that many of us once supported—even as it defended neo-Nazis’ right to march in Skokie, Ill.—wokeness has hijacked the brand. The museum’s CEO should know that his denial of Tikvah makes it more comfortable for me and fellow supporters to file his next contribution solicitation into the garbage pail. – Philip Gotthelf

Und noch:

It is regrettable that Mr. DeSantis was not allowed to speak at the museum’s conference. This borders on cancel culture. Providing a platform to an organization doesn’t mean you endorse the speakers to the event or their views. And even if you think it does, Mr. DeSantis—whatever you make of his other views or actions—is no anti-Semite or Holocaust denier. Unfortunately, it makes it difficult to preserve a valuable institution that is dedicated to learning the lessons from the Holocaust. – Abraham H. Foxman – Bergen County, N.J. Foxman is a Holocaust survivor who was formerly a board member of Museum of Jewish Heritage. He also served as the national director of Anti-Defamation League (1987-2015).

All these back-and-forths and dueling narratives make for interesting fodder, but in the end, it’s a weird look that a museum that promotes tolerance apparently chooses to be intolerant itself.

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