Florida Takes Firm Stand Against Hamas Endorsements in State Universities

Florida is making a clear statement in its stance against the endorsement of terror-related activities. Under the leadership of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, the state university system has called for the deactivation of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters in colleges, following the group’s public defense of Hamas during the recent tragic events in Israel.

Chancellor Ray Rodrigues of the State University System of Florida expressed his concerns in a memorandum. He highlighted that the National Students for Justice in Palestine organization had termed Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel, which resulted in the loss of about 1,400 lives, as “the resistance.” To make matters even more concerning, the SJP had initiated a “Day of Resistance” across US college campuses. The campaign involved circulating propaganda material that appeared to support and defend Hamas, a group recognized internationally as a terrorist organization.

Florida’s strong stance on this matter is rooted in state laws that regard offering material support to a terrorist entity as a serious crime. Rodrigues made it abundantly clear in his memo that given the National SJP’s alignment with such activities, the chapters in question must be shut down. He did, however, mention that the affected student chapters could potentially reformulate their groups in compliance with Florida’s regulations and university policies.

The state’s decision specifically impacts SJP chapters at both the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and Florida State University in Tallahassee.

This isn’t an isolated case of SJP chapters showing favoritism towards individuals or entities associated with acts of terror. For instance, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had previously highlighted instances where SJP publicly admired figures affiliated with recognized terror groups.

Florida, and in particular, Gov. DeSantis, has a consistent track record of confronting activities that seem prejudiced against Israel. In 2021, DeSantis advised against allowing the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) to endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel on Florida State University’s campus. In his capacity as a state representative in 2016, DeSantis even supported legislation that disallowed state pension funds from associating with entities endorsing BDS against Israel.