Fox’s Varney pushes smear that Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is anti-Israel
Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
Fox Business host Stuart Varney helped the chairman of the Florida Republican Party push a smear against Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections.
Right-wing outlets have been trying to fabricate an "anti-Israel" narrative around Gillum based on some very tenuous arguments. The Washington Free Beacon published an article attacking Gillum for his “ties to radical anti-Israel groups” that have "promoted the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS," and The Daily Caller attacked him for speaking at an event hosted by a group primarily focused on engaging Muslim voters. Days later, the flimsy claims made their way onto Fox Business when Varney brought on Florida GOP Chairman Blaise Ingoglia to claim that Gillum has ties to groups that support terrorist organizations.
But the claims that Gillum has “ties” to anti-Semitic groups are exaggerated and disingenuous. According to fact-checking site PolitiFact, Gillum has supported Dream Defenders, one of the groups conservative media are pointing to; but, according to his spokesperson, Gillum has opposed the group's stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Gillum signed a Dream Defenders pledge that “calls on those who sign it to pledge not to take a penny from the NRA or the Geo Group, a private prison operator," but which makes no mention of Israel. Gillum has stated that he does not support the BDS movement. And, even though Varney's guest tried to link Gillum to opposition for funding security for Jewish day schools, The Associated Press has reported on Gillum's support for that funding.
From the November 5 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co.:
STUART VARNEY (HOST): Gillum does have a slight lead in the polls, but his campaign has been linked to a radical, pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel group. Joining us now is Blaise Ingoglia, Florida GOP chair. Blaise, are those linked -- those links to anti-Israel organizations, is that resonating at all with Florida voters?
BLAISE INGOGLIA (FLORIDA GOP CHAIRMAN): Well, it's definitely resonating with our Jewish community here in Florida. You know, after the attacks on the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, Andrew Gillum, still to this day, has yet to condemn those attacks. And he spoke before a group that opposes security for Jewish day schools here in the state of Florida. And that same group has just been unapologetic for their support of some terrorist groups and even defended them in court.
And it's not just those groups, it's other groups like the Dream Defenders, which are anti-police. Andrew Gillum, unfortunately, and his campaign is surrounding themselves with some people who are just bad for Florida and bad, quite frankly, for the United States of America.