New York Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul poked at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and advised against New York Jews relocating to Florida. Hochul was signing a Holocaust education bill and was just about to introduce a Holocaust survivor to take the podium when she stated, "I just want to say to the 1.77 million Jews who call New York home: Thank you for calling New York home. Don't go anywhere or to another state. Florida is overrated. I shouldn't say this but look at the governor. It starts at the top down."
Hochul's bill signing event was held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – the same venue where the Jewish Leadership Conference was being held in May. The museum banned Gov. DeSantis from stating, "DeSantis didn't 'align with the museum's values and its message of inclusivity."
The museum has not yet commented on or condemned Hochul's remarks.
The bipartisan bill Hochul signed at the event will expand New York's current Holocaust education curriculum and provide the state legislature with surveys on each school district's curriculum. Any district failing to meet Holocaust education standards will be issued a corrective action plan to implement a curriculum that meets the state's requirements.
Interestingly, the New York bill is similar to Holocaust education laws that already exist in Florida. Florida's Department of Education has a Task Force on Holocaust Education as a result of the 1994 law, which requires Holocaust education to be taught across the curriculum "with content infused in ways that are age-appropriate, interdisciplinary, and in every grade-level."
Gov. DeSantis, who has been compared to Adolf Hitler and called an anti-semite by his progressive detractors, famously signed HB 741 into law during his trip to Israel just after taking office in 2019. That bill formally defines antisemitism and prohibits discrimination in Florida schools based on religion.
DeSantis has also signed other education laws, which include requiring specific instruction on antisemitism in the required Holocaust curriculum and designating "Holocaust Education Week," and has been at the forefront in condemning anti-Semitism.
DeSantis' new press secretary, Bryan Griffin issued the following statement in response to The Floridian's request for comment: “The pot-shot from Governor Hochul is, of course, unfounded and dishonest. Governor DeSantis championed law in 2020 (two years before New York) that codified Holocaust Education standards. An event focused on the need for Holocaust education should not have been trivialized for political attacks.”
Meanwhile, New York has seen a disturbing increase in antisemitic hate crimes. One report found that antisemitic hate crimes in New York City quadrupled in March 2022 compared to March 2021. Another report found New York fails to properly prosecute the crimes citing only "1 of 118 anti-Jewish hate crimes in NYC resulted in a significant prison term."
Jews around the country feel the exponential rise in antisemitic hate crimes, particularly in states like California and New York, and here has been an influx of Jews leaving these states to relocate to Florida.