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DeSantis refuses to back off demand that US refuse refugees from Gaza

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DeSantis refuses to back off demand that US refuse refugees from Gaza

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Florida Gov. and GOP presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis Sunday stuck to his stance that the U.S. should not accept refugees from Gaza amid the ongoing conflict with Israel.

“Palestinian Arabs should go to Arab countries, the U.S. should not be absorbing any of those,” DeSantis said during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday.

The Florida governor’s remarks come after he sparked controversy with comments made on the campaign trail in Iowa Saturday, arguing to those in the audience that the refugees would be “antisemitic.”

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Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor and 2024 Republican Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis. ((Photo by SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images))

“I don’t know what Biden’s going to do, but we cannot accept people from Gaza into this country as refugees,” DeSantis said during the event. “If you look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas, but they are all antisemitic. None of them believe in Israel’s right to exist.”

The comments came on the heels of Israel warning civilians in the Gaza Strip to evacuate ahead of a planned ground invasion of the region by the country’s defense forces in response to surprise attacks launched by Hamas on Israel last week.

The DeSantis comments elicited pushback from former Arkansas Gov. and fellow GOP hopeful Asa Hutchinson, who told reporters in New Hampshire that “it’s a danger any time that you categorize a group of people as being simply antisemitic,” according to a report from NBC News.

But Desantis later fired back at critics, arguing they had their “head in the sand” when it came to the realities in Gaza.

Hutchinson on campaign trail

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, is interviewed by Fox News Digital in Newton, Iowa, on Sept. 16, 2023 (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)

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“I will challenge anyone to say that in some of these countries that virulent antisemitism is not the norm,” DeSantis said, according to the NBC News report, adding that “if you’re not willing to acknowledge that, then you’ve got your head in the sand.”

DeSantis continued to defend his remarks during his Sunday interview, telling “Face the Nation” Hamas has helped form a “toxic culture” in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza city

A man wails after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Gaza on October 09, 2023. Search and rescue works continue.  (Photo by Belal Khaled/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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“They elected Hamas, let’s just be clear about that. Not everyone’s a member of Hamas, most probably aren’t, but they did elect Hamas in 2006,” DeSantis said. “This has been an issue for a long time. They teach kids to hate Jews, the textbooks do not have Israel even on the map. They prepare very young kids to commit terrorist attacks. So I think it’s a toxic culture and I think if we were to import large numbers of those to the United States… it would increase antisemitism in this country and I think it would increase anti-Americanism.”

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