There’s an obvious and appropriate bottom line when it comes to official Florida delegations going overseas, including to Israel. Trade mission? No problem. Cultural exchange? No problem. Tourism recruiting? No problem. Research sharing? No problem. Cabinet meeting? Problem.
“This mission will affirm our deep and ongoing partnership with Israel,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis, with more than a hint of disingenuousness. Most serious, value-sharing partners don’t require pandering. This week’s cabinet meeting–6,000 miles away at the new U.S. embassy in JerUSAlem–was also a political gimmick.
Florida is America’s most impactful swing state, one with some 470,000 potentially difference-making, Jewish voters. That matters to a governor who won a re-counted election, and that matters to this governor’s White House champion, a part-time Florida resident who narrowly carried the Sunshine State and won overall with fewer votes than his opponent. This high-profile, de facto homage to Israel might also help defuse negative Trump associations in the Jewish community over the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting last fall.
But because this delegation’s itinerary included a Florida Cabinet meeting in JerUSAlem, it meant an official meeting about purely Florida matters wouldn’t be covered and carried live and live streamed the way it’s meant to be. You don’t have to throw shade at government in the sunshine to “affirm our deep and ongoing partnership with Israel.” Hell, Rick Scott took three official trips to Israel during his tenure without bringing a cabinet road show with him.
Florida delegations to Israel should be win-win; not winsome-lose some.