(DCWatchdog.com) – In light of recent events, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has directed universities in the state to “deactivate” the student organization Students from Justice in Palestine (SJP).
He based this decision on allegations that the group provides “material support” to Hamas, which is recognized as a “designated foreign terrorist group.”
State university system Chancellor Ray Rodrigues, in his letter, stated, “Based on the National SJP’s support of terrorism, in consultation with Governor DeSantis, the student chapters must be deactivated.” Rodrigues cited Florida law, which labels it a felony to “knowingly provide material support . . . to a designated foreign terrorist organization.”
The Chancellor’s decision was influenced by a “toolkit” distributed by the national SJP. This toolkit praised Hamas for its actions, specifically Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, and urged students to join the global “resistance” movement.
The toolkit celebrated Hamas’ actions in Israel and featured graphics of Hamas paragliders for U.S. chapters to utilize. The document asserted, “As the Palestinian student movement, we have an unshakable responsibility to join the call for mass mobilization.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) highlighted that SJP chapters on many U.S. campuses have shown support for the Palestinian terrorist group’s attack. The ADL suggested that this support might breach state and federal laws related to endorsing a foreign terrorist organization.
In response to the directive, SJP, in partnership with Palestine Legal, denounced the order.
They claim the move is “a blatant attack on students’ First Amendment rights” and announced their intention to challenge it in court. The legal group, which backs the “Palestine solidarity movement,” stated, “Florida, particularly under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, has been actively undermining education, freedom of speech, and social justice movements.”
Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican presidential contender, also criticized DeSantis’ decision. He told the Hill, “My view is that the answer to bad speech is not less speech, it is more speech. And I think it is wrong for us to silence those we disagree with.” He further added that suppressing voices is not the American way.
Currently, SJP has active chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida.