Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reaffirmed his decision to decertify pro-Palestinian student groups that have been associated with Hamas, emphasizing his commitment during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” DeSantis, who is also a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, defended the move, asserting that permitting such groups to openly align with “brutal terrorist organizations” is against the nation’s best interests.
DeSantis expressed his belief that the decertification was justified within the bounds of Florida law. He pointed out that it is a felony under Florida law to knowingly provide material aid or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. The group in question, National Students for Justice in Palestine (National SJP), had released a “toolkit” that referred to the Hamas operation as “the resistance” and stated that Palestinian students in exile were part of this movement, not merely in solidarity with it.
The governor argued that the crucial issue at hand was the group’s own statements, where they claimed to be part of the Hamas movement and not just in solidarity with it. DeSantis insisted that aligning with a group like Hamas takes one out of the realm of normal activity and necessitates legal action. He also questioned the prudence of allowing groups to openly siding with terrorist organizations, considering the implications for national security and safety.
DeSantis has been vocal in his condemnation of the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 Israelis. He has previously expressed a desire to cancel student visas and deport foreign nationals who celebrate Hamas if he is elected president, illustrating his unwavering stance on the issue.
The chancellor of Florida’s university system had sent a letter announcing the decertification of the pro-Palestinian student group in question, National SJP, which had a presence in at least two universities within the state. In the letter, it was highlighted that the group’s “toolkit” described their affiliation with the Hamas movement, a foreign terrorist organization.
.@RonDeSantis defended his administration’s decision to direct Florida universities to deactivate chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine that express support for Hamas’s terror attacks. | @brittybernstein https://t.co/X5KTKATpRk
— National Review (@NRO) October 29, 2023