DeSantis Urges Florida Universities to Bar Pro-Palestinian Groups

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Published: Oct 26, 2023
DeSantis Urges Florida Universities to Bar Pro-Palestinian Groups

DeSantis Urges Florida Universities to Bar Pro-Palestinian Groups

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking state universities to ban pro-Palestinian student organizations from campuses.

DeSantis’ direction comes as fighting has increased between Hamas terrorists and Israelis. Across the U.S., many college campuses are finding student groups growing in support of Palestine, including Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine.

DeSantis said the groups support a “terrorist organization.”

State University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues reached out to university presidents this week after DeSantis’ announcement. Rodrigues asked that schools disband chapters of SJP.

“Palestinian students in exile are PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement.

“It is a felony under Florida law to ‘knowingly provide material support … to a designated foreign terrorist organization,'” Rodrigues said in the letter.

Violence has increased between Israel and Palestine after Hamas made a surprise attack near the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7. Some 2,500 terrorists killed about 1,400 people and abducted 220 hostages.

In response, Israel has struck back at Hamas’ infrastructure and operations and said it is trying to avoid civilian casualties.

DeSantis’ urging comes after dozens of U.S. national Jewish groups, state officials, and campus organizations signed a letter demanding universities disband and stop recognizing SJP student groups.

According to The Times of Israel, SJP activities recently have included calling the Hamas surprise assault a “historic win” and distributing materials featuring paragliders used by Hamas terrorists in the assault.

SJP is not a new group, and activists in the group have long called for the “liberation” of Palestine and boycotts against Israel.

Palestine Legal, a group that provides legal support for pro-Palestinian groups, said the ban on SJP is an attempt to curb students’ freedom of speech.

“Florida, particularly under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, has been actively undermining education, freedom of speech, and social justice movements, including by banning anti-racist courses and trying to criminalize protests. It is not surprising that this egregious move to silence the student movement for Palestinian rights is being pursued under DeSantis,” it said Wednesday in a statement.

DeSantis, who is angling for a run at the presidential seat, has also sent planes to Israel with supplies and promised to return Florida citizens who want out of the country.

He also said he would support a special legislative session that would impose new sanctions on Iran, although there has been no evidence that Iran was directly involved in the Oct. 7 attack.

Hamas is designated as a terrorist group by the U.S.

Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Justin Sullivan / Staff

Video Courtesy: PBS NewsHour via YouTube

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

DeSantis Urges Florida Universities to Bar Pro-Palestinian Groups