With attention focused on Gainesville and the University of Florida for Thursday’s speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, members of the Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus issued a strong statement denouncing Spencer and his views on race.
“Let’s be clear: Richard Spencer is a vile, racist, carnival barker whose traveling circus of ignorance-fueled hatred is inhabited by insecure clowns unable to come to terms with a changing world,” members of the caucus said in a joint statement. “His ideology is that of a cowardly, small man, based on discredited nonsense and abject fear of those different from himself.”
Spencer was one of the speakers at a white nationalist rally in August that turned violent. A car drove into a crowd of counter-protestors killing a young woman and injuring several others. Clashes have occurred on other campuses where Spencer has spoken.
University of Florida officials rejected a request made by Spencer and his National Policy Institute to appear at the university last month due to what happened in Virginia. School leaders agreed to accommodate Spencer after he threatened to sue.
“Nothing less than total condemnation of this bigotry will do, as the perils of fascism are well documented in our history,” the caucus members said in their joint statement.
The statement was signed by the caucus chair, Rep. Richard Stark, D-Weston, along with Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana; Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation; Rep. Ben Diamond, D-St. Petersburg; Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation; Rep. Joseph Geller, D-Aventura; Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs; Sen. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach; Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton; and Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami.
The legislators said while they support the Constitution, they commend Gov. Rick Scott for his efforts and preventative measures he has taken to ensure the safety of all those in Gainesville.
“Those who seek to counter this wicked hatred deserve to know they will be free to express their views peacefully without fear of suffering violence at the hands of white supremacists like those who were attacked in Charlottesville. As Elie Weisel said, ‘The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.’
“So let no one among us be indifferent.”