Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has issued a directive targeting college student groups that expressed support for the Operation Al-Aqsa Flood attacks by Hamas on Israel a fortnight ago.
Ray Rodrigues, the head of the State University System of Florida, has been instructed by the governor to formally alert the University of Florida and the University of South Florida regarding their obligation to disband their affiliated Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters. This move arises from allegations that these groups violated Florida's anti-terrorism statutes, the Daily Wire reported.
Rodrigues communicated with the leaders of Florida's public universities, highlighting the grave consequences of the recent attacks on Israel by Hamas.
“During a holy Jewish holiday, the recognized terrorist organization, Hamas, launched an unprovoked attack on Israel – among those killed were babies, women, and elderly,” Rodrigues said in a letter to the leads of Florida's universities.
“To date, approximately 1,400 Israelis have been killed, including 31 American citizens. Governor DeSantis, our State University System and the Florida College System have condemned these attacks.”
Rodrigues' letter also drew attention to a "toolkit" released by the National Students for Justice in Palestine (National SJP) in reaction to the Palestinian-led attacks. This document describes Operation Al-Aqsa Flood as "the resistance" and makes a definitive statement regarding the active involvement of Palestinian students abroad in this movement.
Rodrigues underscored that Florida law criminalizes the act of extending material support to recognized foreign terrorist entities, and pointed out that Hamas is categorized as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States.
He articulated that, in light of National SJP's self-professed association with Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, these student chapters are required to cease their operations.
The letter concluded with a firm statement, emphasizing Florida's resolve to actively oversee university events and employ all available resources to counteract any university-related activities that overstep the boundaries of constitutionally protected free speech and veer into endorsing terrorist groups.
"Based on the National SJP’s support of terrorism, in consultation with Governor DeSantis, the student chapters must be deactivated," the letter stated.