Senator Rick Scott Remarks at RJC Annual Summit
Las Vegas, NV – Last night, Senator Rick Scott delivered remarks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Summit. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery. You can watch his remarks HERE.
- I am so glad that I can be with you tonight. It’s unfortunate that we are meeting in the midst of absolute tragedy.
- The terror and devastation unleashed on Israelis by Iran-backed Hamas terrorists have rightly horrified the world.
- Innocent families were murdered in their homes. Children were beheaded. Girls were raped. Whole families were burned alive. An elderly wheelchair-bound woman, later identified as a Holocaust survivor, was brutally dragged through the streets of Gaza. Children who witnessed the murders of their parents have been kidnapped and are being held hostage by Hamas.
- Hundreds were mowed down at a music festival. Thousands dead. At least 33 Americans dead and 10 held hostage.
- The atrocities are too numerous to fully recount, but the images we have seen will never leave our memories.
- In 2019, my wife Ann and I visited Kfar Aza, one of the kibbutz’s that was site to a complete massacre. As the early reports were coming out, I was really worried about the Kibbutz because of its proximity to Gaza (It’s about a half a mile away). And when I heard the news that it was the site of some of the most horrific and barbaric activities, my heart just sank. I wanted to vomit.
- We had spent an afternoon there and it was the most peaceful place. I keep thinking about the moms and kids who were playing outside and enjoying the warm summer weather. It is gut wrenching to think of the fate of the families we met that day. I just learned that Chen, the lady who led our tour of the kibbutz, was traveling outside of Israel that day and survived. I was able to talk with her last week and she had not yet been able to go home. She said it was unclear if she will ever be allowed back.
- Can you even imagine? So many of us in this room are so deeply connected to Israel and I bet every one of you has a story like mine. We know people in the IDF who have been called to serve. We have friends all over the country who have spent days in bomb shelters as rockets have been launched in by terrorists intent on wiping Israel and Jews off the face of the earth.
- And this week in DC, I met with survivors…
- Not since the Holocaust has the world witnessed such a brutal attack on the Jewish people. We have to keep repeating this. Not since the Holocaust has the world witnessed such a brutal attack on the Jewish people.
- We have to really let that sink in.
- It is 2023 and it sure feels like history is repeating itself.
- I have moms in my state calling me scared to send their kids to their Jewish preschools. They want their kids to have a Jewish education, but they are scared their toddlers will be targeted. If parents don’t feel safe taking their kids there, then eventually, there will be no more Jewish schools. We can’t let that happen.
- People are scared to go to synagogue for shabbat services. If people stop going to services, where would the Jewish people gather? We can’t let that happen…
- Jewish kids are being targeted on our college campuses while pro-Hamas rallies break out.
- This is sick. This is no way for people to live in our country.
- When my daughters were young, I took them to Birkenau and Auschwitz so they could understand what happened during the Holocaust. They had to understand the horrors of what people endured.
- Unfortunately, we have people all over this world who simply hate Jewish people and want to pretend the Holocaust never happened.
- Just a few years ago, I had to fight to get a principal at a high school in Palm Beach County fired because he said “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event.” What in the world….
- We have to ask ourselves, why is this happening? Of course there is just pure evil in this world. And there are terrorists who want Israel and all Jewish people wiped off the face of this Earth. But we also have people who have been elected in our country to represent us, and whose salaries you pay with your tax dollars, who are saying the most insane and anti-Semitic things:
- Ilhan Omar: It’s “scary” to work with members of Congress who condemn Hamas’ attack on Israel.
- Rashida Tlaib: “I’m ashamed” of members of Congress who refuse to call for a ceasefire. After constantly repeating the false claim that Israel bombed a hospital in Gaza, Rashida Tlaib says about Israel, “We are literally watching people commit genocide…and we still stand by and say nothing.”
- President Obama: “It means acknowledging that Palestinians have also lived in disputed territories for generations; that many of them were not only displaced when Israel was formed but continue to be forcibly displaced by a settler movement that too often has received tacit or explicit support from the Israeli government; that Palestinian leaders who’ve been willing to make concessions for a two-state solution have too often had little to show for their efforts..”
- We all know the squad and many Democrats hate Israel…no surprise there…but, look at our former President…what a dangerous disappointment this man is. A man who was elected president of this great country still has no appreciation of America’s soul and our moral principles.
- Obama remains a candle in the wind, saying he is 100% for Israel, while making excuses for terrorists like Hamas, and he will say anything to anybody to be liked. He remains desperate to be popular globally. There is no moral clarity here because there is no moral commitment to our ally, and no recognition at all of the threat of Iran backed terrorists to the global survival of democracy and freedom.
- When you pull back the covers of this pitifully weak statement, this is just the same old anti-Israel rhetoric Obama has always maintained because he has never been able to criticize radical Islam and its lust for violence and power.
- No wonder Joe Biden is so clueless. Even with the debilities of his age and the decline of his mental acuity, he is just following the path Obama wandered, aimlessly supporting everything and nothing. Everything, that is, except our freedoms, our nation, democracy, and Israel.
And, it is the failed actions of Obama that are being continued by the Biden administration today:
- The Obama-Biden policy is rooted in the false belief that if the West will keep U.N. funds flowing to Gaza, that if we free up $6 billion in sanctioned Iranian funds and allow Iran billions in wealth due to unenforced sanctions on Iranian oil sales, all will be well.
- They believe that if the U.S., Europeans and others will give the mullahs in Iran enough relief with money and diplomacy, the regime will stop chanting, “Death to America! Death to the Zionist occupier!”
- Let’s not forget: Biden campaigned on a return to the Iran nuclear deal.
- Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan gave America’s enemies and the terror groups they support a new foothold in the Middle East. America left billions of dollars in weapons and military equipment behind, some of which is now reportedly being used against Israelis by Hamas.
- Biden completely appeases dictators across the world whether it is Communist China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela…. And these brutal regimes are the only friends Iran has. They have been cooperating for years to support each other with money, weapons, technology and political support to harm, isolate, and weaken America.
- We have a wide-open border that has allowed terrorists and drugs to flow through…More than 150 individuals on the FBI terror watch list have been apprehended by the U.S. border patrol in the last year. And those are just the ones we know about…think about all the people who walk across our border and can then board a flight and sit right next to you.
- And we have a President who can barely even talk about the Americans who are held hostage right now in Gaza.
- Instead of sitting in the situation room trying to get hostages home, he is doing Green New Deal events and walking on the beach in Delaware….
- When he recently addressed the nation, he mentioned Ukraine 23 times, but hostages only twice. In his 15-minute speech, Biden spent only 15 seconds discussing American hostages and 0 seconds on an actionable plan to get them home safely. I am so glad that two American hostages were released BUT every single person needs to be freed and it is appalling our President isn’t focusing every hour of his day on that effort.
- A lot of people don’t realize this, but Biden’s own State Department admitted a few years ago that US taxpayer dollars for humanitarian aid in Gaza could likely fund Iran-backed Hamas terrorists. They said this. We should all be furious about this.
- So, I filed a bill to stop this – seems pretty logical, right?
- Last week, I went down to the Senate floor to try and pass it. Bernie Sanders, with the backing of Chuck Schumer, blocked it and refused to let my bill pass that would not allow any of our tax dollars to go to Hamas.
- For whatever reason, Senate Democrats seem to be ok with stopping my legislation that says no American taxpayer dollars will be authorized to Gaza until the President certifies to Congress that these funds can be spent without benefitting terrorist organizations and that there are no hostages being held by Iran-backed Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
- The US absolutely has to support Israel right now and ensure they have the weapons they need to completely destroy Hamas. Unfortunately, Biden just put forward an unserious proposal that links aid for Israel with a whole bunch of other things like a bail out for sanctuary cities. I am going to demand a clean vote on Israel aid because it can pass any day on its own. We can’t let our President play games with this aid
- It feels really grim. It feels like we are on the brink of losing everything. But we can change this…We have no other option.
- It wasn’t too long ago that we had the most Pro-Israel president in the White House: Donald Trump.
- I know people have different opinions of him, but there is no doubt about it, he did more for Israel than any president in our history.
o The US defeated ISIS, moved the U.S. embassy to its rightful home in Jerusalem and held vicious Iranian murders, like Soleimani, accountable for the American lives they had taken.
o Our southern border was secured, denying terror groups the ability to infiltrate American communities like they have for the last three years under Biden.
o And historic moves toward peace were taken with the Abraham Accords.
- Joe Biden is truly doing all he can to undo the great work that was done under the last Administration, but we can stop it. I know it seems like a pretty basic statement… but we can change this by kicking him out of the White House, wining back the Senate and getting an even bigger Republican majority in the House next year.
- And this also must be done at the local level. Everyone who is in elected office from city council to your sheriff to your state legislators and Governors have a responsibility to keep our Jewish community safe and condemn terrorists and their sympathizers.
o If you don’t think your synagogue has enough security, call your Sheriff and police chief and ask for patrols. Demand your Governors increase state law enforcement resources to protect houses of worship and Jewish Day Schools. We did it in Florida when I was Governor…it can be done… And when they don’t, vote them out.
- All of you in this room do so much to support Republicans who fight for Israel and our Jewish community. I thank you for that and I know we can lead the fight to get a President back in the White House who will not only stand up for Israel BUT ALL FREEDOM LOVING NATIONS.
- I want to thank Matt Brooks and Norm Coleman for their incredible work at the RJC. We need groups like the RJC that are vocal and refuse to back down in times like these. The RJC supports candidates who are trying to do the right thing on Israel and that is so critical right now.
- I also want to highlight Matt Bogdanoff who is RJC’s Florida Director. We have an incredible Jewish population in Florida and Matt does a great job making sure all the elected officials in our state know how to help right now.
- As I close, I want to leave you with this. There is more we can do than just elect Republicans who will do the things we believe in.
o When we see businesses not supporting Israel…we need to call them out. The Starbucks Workers Union came out in support of Hamas. When I saw that, I called for a boycott of Starbucks until their leadership condemned this. We don’t need to help Hamas-backing baristas. And guess what, after I publicly blasted them, Starbucks put out a statement condemning the union…and I read they are even suing them.
o When we see the wrong things happening on our college campuses we have to speak out. My former colleague Senator Ben Sasse is now the President of the University of Florida. He has been relentless in his support for Israel, calling out terrorist sympathizers at UF. And he’s done a tremendous job making sure Jewish students at school feel safe. Every single university president needs to follow Ben’s lead.
o If you donate to charities or organizations, withhold your dollars if they don’t clearly support Israel. It is great to see big donors to places like the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard cut their funding because of the anti-Semitic crap they allow on campus.
o If you are a business that has medical supplies, consider sending them over to Israel. In Lee County, Florida, our Sheriff has a surplus of supplies and we are helping to get it over to Israel right now. If you think there is something you can do to help and not sure how, call me. I’ll be here all night so let me know what I can do to help.
o And, if you are an employer, don’t hire any of these students who have been signing letters that have blamed Israel for the violence and praised terrorists. It is great to see companies like Sweetgreen and Davis Polk publicly rescind job offers from people who engage in such craziness.
- The world feels dark. But if you look around this room, it is filled with people from all walks of life who support Israel and our Jewish community. All of us in our own way can stand up and fight like hell to turn this situation around.
- This isn’t the woke left’s cancel culture, this is about calling out those who are supporting death and terrorism.
- Thank you all for your friendship and support. I am running for re-election next year, and I promise you, I will keep fighting for Israel. I will keep fighting for the Jewish families in my state and across the nation….and if you need absolutely anything, call me.