Florida’s DeSantis bans pro-Palestinian student group

By Andrew Hay

(Reuters) – Florida’s college system, working with Governor , ordered faculties on Tuesday to close down a pro-Palestinian scholar group, marking the primary U.S. state to outlaw the group whose nationwide management backed Hamas’ assault on Israel.

The State College System of Florida stated chapters of College students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) needed to be dismantled as a part of a “crack down” within the Republican-led state on campus demonstrations that present “dangerous help for terrorist teams.”

“Based mostly on the Nationwide SJP’s help of terrorism, in session with Governor DeSantis, the coed chapters should be deactivated,” the system’s Chancellor Ray Rodrigues wrote in a memo to school leaders.

SJP is lively in not less than two Florida universities, Rodrigues stated.

The College of North Florida in Jacksonville and Florida State College in Tallahassee have SJP chapters, based mostly on Instagram websites. The Nationwide SJP didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Tensions between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian college students have led to harassment and assaults at U.S. universities since Hamas’ Oct.7 assault and Israel’s siege and bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Directors at some U.S. universities criticized the Nationwide SJP after it referred to as Hamas’ assault “a historic win for the Palestinian resistance” and referred to as for a “day of resistance” on Oct. 12 with demonstrations by its chapters at over 200 faculties in America and Canada.

DeSantis, a White Home candidate, has taken a tough line towards Palestinians, suggesting Gazan civilians be denied water and utilities till Hamas releases hostages it took throughout its assault.

Florida’s college system stated it based mostly its SJP ban on a “toolkit” issued by the nationwide group to chapters that referred to Hamas’ assault as “the resistance” and acknowledged “Palestinian college students in exile are PART of this motion.”

In his memo, Rodrigues stated Nationwide SJP recognized itself as a part of Hamas’ assault and it was a felony underneath Florida legislation “to supply materials help… to a chosen overseas terrorist group.”

(Reporting By Andrew Hay)

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