During an interview over the weekend, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) explained the reasoning behind decertifying Hamas-supporting student groups in his state — arguing that the decision was made because the groups violated the law by providing “material support” to terrorist organizations.
DeSantis has directed Chancellor of the State University System of Florida Ray Rodrigues to issue notices to both the University of Florida and the University of South Florida ordering them to decertify their chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) over their violation of Florida’s terrorism laws.
In the notices, the Florida government explained that National Students for Justice in Palestine (National SJP) published a “toolkit” in response to Hamas’ terrorist attacks in Israel that “refers to Operation Al-Aqsa Flood as ‘the resistance’ and unequivocally states: ‘Palestinian students in exile are PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement.’”
Breaking: Gov. @RonDeSantis directed the chancellor of the State University System of Florida to deactivate the "Students for Justice in Palestine" group after it was revealed they sent out a "toolkit" inviting members to aid Hamas in their Operation Al-Aqsa Flood terrorist… pic.twitter.com/bMmoI2ZKt1
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) October 24, 2023
It is a felony under Florida law to “knowingly provide material support” to a “designated foreign terrorist organization,” the letter noted — pointing out that Hamas has been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States.
During his interview with Kristen Welker on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” DeSantis was asked if decertifying these pro-Hamas groups amounted to “cancel culture.”
“This is not cancel culture. This group, they themselves said in the aftermath of the Hamas attack, that they don’t just stand in solidarity that they are part of this Hamas movement,” DeSantis explained. “And so you have a right to go out and demonstrate, but you can’t provide material support to terrorism. They’ve linked themselves to Hamas. And so we absolutely decertified them, they should not get one red cent of taxpayer dollars.”
“And we also have strong laws in Florida against fundraising for groups like Hamas, and we are enforcing those vigorously,” he continued. “It’s not a First Amendment issue. That’s a material support to terrorism issue.”
The leftist NBC News host then questioned whether DeSantis had any evidence that the groups were providing material support for Hamas — and the Florida governor responded by pointing to the groups’ past comments.
“Their own words are saying they’re part of this organization, that they don’t just stand in solidarity, that they don’t just support what they did, but that this is their movement, too,” the Florida governor said. “So once you hitch your wagon to a group like Hamas, that takes you out of the realm of normal activity, and that’s something that we’re going to take action against. So we believe we’re totally justified within the law.”
“And I think things like this had been litigated time and again, but here’s the broader point: You know, are we just gonna commit suicide as a country and let groups metastasize who are openly siding with brutal terrorist organizations?” DeSantis concluded. “I don’t think that’s a recipe for a successful country. I want to have a country where we’re protected from that stuff. So I think we made the right decision I stand by it 100%.”
DESANTIS on deactivating student groups who pledged material support to Hamas:
"Are we just going to commit suicide as a country and let groups metastasize who are openly siding with brutal terrorist organizations? I don’t think that’s a recipe for a successful country….We made… pic.twitter.com/0dYlVclH1g
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) October 29, 2023