Republicans Quit Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus Over Dem Inaction

Rep. Michael Gottlieb, D- Broward, The Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus Chair, never issued a statement on Hamas attacking Israel, and that failure has torn the caucus apart.

Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis gave a press conference supporting Israel at The Schul in Bal Harbour. DeSantis talked about Florida’s strong support of Israel and outlined a plan of action against the terrorists trying to destroy Israel and the Jewish people.

Many Republicans from the legislature were in attendance. Democrats were conspicuously absent, with only one showing up in support. Gottlieb has yet to issue an official statement from the caucus regarding Israel. That didn’t sit well with Republican members of the caucus.

Sparks flew when Representative Mike Caruso, R-West Palm Beach, sent a letter resigning from the Jewish caucus over its inaction after the Bal Harbour event. Then, the remaining Republican members of the caucus resigned as well, leaving the caucus without any GOP members in a red state.

The following email was sent from Representative Caruso’s government email address and a public record. 

Dear Chair Gottlieb,

October 7th, Hamas launched its deadliest attack in decades against Israel, which, as of this writing, killed over 900 Israelis and thousands of Israelis wounded. Videos shared online of Hamas going door to door murdering and torturing Israeli families, parading the streets with corpses, shouting death to Israel, and a formal declaration of war. The unexpected brutality which targeted innocent men, women, and children rightfully sparked international outrage.

I am writing my letter of resignation from the Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus for this caucus’s silence and failure to stand against the murderous anti-Semitic attack by Hamas and abstaining from complete support for Israel. I cannot be a member of this caucus that when Israel declares war, we are silent; When Jews die, we are silent. When a declaration of war is sent, we, the Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus, must stand in solidarity with Israel, call out these heinous attacks, and support Israel’s right to defend itself. For these reasons, I am resigning from the Caucus.

Thank you.

Mike Caruso,
State Representative, House District 87

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As chair of the caucus, it is Rep Gottlieb’s job to be the leader and take swift and decisive action. Instead of taking responsibility for inaction, he reacted with a sarcastic, inappropriate, and frankly stupid response. 

Rep. Caruso,

I appreciate your explaining the deadly attack to me. I’ve been dealing with friends who are experiencing this grave tragedy and have not had the chance to compose a statement yet.

I also appreciate your reactive and divisive rhetoric when you could instead have authored a statement for us to share.

That’s your choice to leave the caucus.

Thank you for your past support and, of course, for your assistance and cooperation here at our darkest moment.

Michael Gottlieb

State Representative

District 98

Full Disclosure: Tracy Caruso is married to Rep. Mike Caruso

Representative Randy Fine, R-Brevard, is sick of the Democrats and resigned from the Jewish caucus months ago. He was included in the email chain and had this to say to Gottlieb. 

We get it.  It has to be exceptionally difficult to compose a statement that will thread the needle with your “progressive” and “Black Lives Matter” colleagues,  pass muster with your friends Omar and Tlaib, and get around the fact that the President you support 1) paid for and supplied weapons that led to the deaths of over 1000 Jews and 2) his first impulse (twice) was for them to stand by and stand down.   It’s got to be a tough time. We are here for you in your difficult hour! ~Representative Randy Fine

Senator Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, who has become a progressive liberal nightmare, said this.

Thank you so much, Rep Gottlieb, for volunteering your precious time to lead our caucus. I know how busy you are as a lawyer and a rep. It’s almost like this was a test, and rather than offer a draft of a letter, Caruso wastes all of our time with this letter.  I, too, have been trying to help constituents get out of Israel, dealing with a scary situation at a vigil at UF, and generally trying to put out accurate information (and am here in first committee week).  If a statement from our caucus was so important, then draft it.  Or were you waiting to see if someone else would do your work for you, and then you could use it as a political cudgel? ~Senator Tina Polsky

This was no test. The chair’s job is to lead. The reality is that if Caruso had written a statement on behalf of the caucus, the Democrat members wouldn’t have signed it because they claim that the true, accurate, and direct position of Republicans in this matter doesn’t coincide with their “squad” rhetoric. Polsky was quick to react on X, formerly known as Twitter, with all sorts of insults to Republicans. She’s nothing more than a less fashionable squad member. 

The back and forth didn’t end there. Gottlieb responded with;

This divisive rhetoric is not helpful.  I’m glad both you and Mike left the caucus yet have time to throw stones at those of us who have genuine concerns and are helping constituents try to leave Israel.  Or helping provide aid.  And have issued personal statements as well. Rather than work together and compose a statement for us, you’d rather compose hateful emails.

Michael Gottlieb

State Representative

District 98

Fine then swiftly responded with,

Because we haven’t done the same.  Give me a break.  Your moral superiority was washed away by the blood of 1,000 Jews your policies paid to kill. I don’t need lectures from Jews that allowed Omar and Tlaib in their caucus and thought playing footsie with Iran was a good idea. ~Representative Randy Fine

It is no secret that America’s two main political parties have become wholly polarized, and Florida is no exception. Republican and Democrat politicos in Florida have had very different reactions to the war in Israel, with Republicans standing firmly in support of Israel wiping out Hamas and calling out President Biden for his six billion to Iran that benefited the terrorist organization, and Democrats, with few exceptions, calling for an anti-Israel, the anti-American response of a cease-fire peace, no more violence, Joe Biden did nothing wrong, love fest.

Unless serious changes occur, such as demanding that the national Democrat party remove squad members such as Rashida Tlaib and support Israel destroying Hamas, the once bipartisan caucus will remain a progressive, do-nothing, one-party, Democrat Jewish Caucus. 

Other stories you may want to read:

Palestinian Student Protests Turn Violent-FAU Responds With Pro-Israel Support

Ben Shapiro: I Am a Jew

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