In a bold move, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has ordered the state university system to deactivate chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). This decision was made in response to the state’s ban on providing support to foreign terrorists, and comes after the National SJP’s “day of resistance” toolkit praised a deadly Hamas attack on Israeli civilians.
Chancellor of the State University System of Florida, Ray Rodrigues, pointed to the toolkit, which described the attack as a “historic win for the Palestinian resistance,” as evidence of the National SJP’s support for terrorism. In a memo to university presidents, Rodrigues stated, “Based on the National SJP’s support of terrorism, in consultation with Governor DeSantis, the student chapters must be deactivated.”
The toolkit itself contained disturbing elements, including a graphic of a paraglider that referenced the Hamas paragliders who launched a surprise attack on Israeli concert-goers. It also emphasized that Palestinian students were not in solidarity with the movement, but rather a part of it. These pieces of evidence helped solidify the decision to deactivate the SJP chapters.
The Florida law specifies that it is a felony to knowingly provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations. Hamas, which controls Gaza, has been designated as such by the State Department since 1997. Rodrigues argued, “Here, National SJP has affirmatively identified it is a part of the Operation Al-Aqsa Flood – a terrorist-led attack.”
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While the Florida announcement did not receive a public response from the National SJP, the move has shed light on the accusations of condoned antisemitism in leading universities following the October 7 terrorist attack. Pro-Palestinian students and groups across college campuses celebrated the attack, which claimed the lives of over 1,400 Israelis and 31 Americans.
Governor DeSantis has been taking decisive action following the attack, launching Operation Israel Rescue to bring stranded Americans home and sending donated supplies to Tel Aviv. Furthermore, he has proposed tougher sanctions on Iran to avoid any business dealings that could potentially fund Hamas and other terrorist groups aligned with Iran.
In these turbulent times, the state of Florida, under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, remains committed to condemning attacks like these and taking action against those who support terrorism. The deactivation of SJP chapters serves as a clear message that harmful support for terrorist groups will not be tolerated in Florida’s educational institutions.