By Andrew Hay
(Reuters) – Florida’s college system, working with Governor , ordered faculties on Tuesday to close down a pro-Palestinian student 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 mentioned 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 assist for terrorist teams.”
“Based mostly on the Nationwide SJP’s assist of terrorism, in session with Governor DeSantis, the student chapters should be deactivated,” the system’s Chancellor Ray Rodrigues wrote in a memo to college leaders.
SJP is lively in a minimum of two Florida universities, Rodrigues mentioned.
The College of North Florida in Jacksonville and Florida State College in Tallahassee have SJP chapters, primarily based 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 known as Hamas’ assault “a historic win for the Palestinian resistance” and known 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 mentioned it primarily based its SJP ban on a “toolkit” issued by the nationwide group to chapters that referred to Hamas’ assault as “the resistance” and said “Palestinian college students in exile are PART of this motion.”
In his memo, Rodrigues mentioned Nationwide SJP recognized itself as a part of Hamas’ assault and it was a felony beneath Florida legislation “to offer materials assist… to a chosen overseas terrorist group.”
(Reporting By Andrew Hay)