Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

JFGO speaks out against anti-Israel rant


A recent Orlando Sentinel guest commentary by Zaina Alsous, a Palestinian-American organizer with the Dream Defenders in Miami and Donna Nevel, a community psychologist and educator and a Jewish social justice activist living in South Florida, pushed an anti-Israel agenda under the guise of criticizing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to hold a Florida Cabinet meeting in Israel. The May 29 opinion piece was titled “DeSantis’ Israel meeting slap in the face to voters.” 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando quickly responded to the opinion piece. Written by Ben Friedman, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, Brad Jacobs, JFGO president and Keith Dvorchik, JFGO executive director, the response stated that the writers’ true goal is to “undermining the legitimacy of America’s greatest ally—and the only democracy—in the Middle East...”

“The authors’ chief concern does not seem to be that the governor and Cabinet members are outside of Florida, but rather that they are inside Israel,” they stated.

The commentary addressed the inaccurate statements about the Israeli government practicing “racial and ethnic exclusion and anti-democratic rule over millions of Palestinians.”

Alsous and Nevel wrote, “Just in the last few weeks Israel has once again been bombing Gaza, a tiny blockaded area of Palestine that many have compared to an open-air prison. The Israeli military has imposed a cruel and illegal siege on Gaza for more than a decade, controlling all entry and exit.”

The Federation took this opportunity to “set the record straight” by detailing the over 700 rocket attacks by Hamas on innocent Israeli communities; Hamas’ use of schools, hospitals and mosques as their launch pads; placing innocent Gazans in harm’s way; and the numerous tunnels from Gaza into Israel.

“They fail to place responsibility where it belongs: with Hamas and the other terrorist groups that control the territory and oppress the Palestinians who live there. It is disappointing to see these authors and other anti-Israel activists cover up the fact that Hamas has violently suppressed protests by Palestinians in Gaza.”

In conclusion the trio stated: Given how unbalanced their column was, we can’t help but wonder what these authors really care about more: supporting Florida, or destroying Israel?


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