(USNewsMag.com) – On Oct. 29, 2024, Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his decision to shut down Palestinian student organizations on state college campuses if they show support for Hamas.
DeSantis stated that allowing the pro-Palestinian student organizations to openly support “brutal terrorist organizations” is similar to committing “suicide as a country” during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He added that it is “not a cancellation culture,” as the pro-Palestinian groups have also claimed to be part of the Hamas movement.
DeSantis said that you have a right to hold demonstrations; however, “you can’t provide material support to terrorism.” He added that “we absolutely decertified them” because the groups have “linked themselves to Hamas.”
DeSantis stated that the group says, “They’re part of this organization,” which “takes you out of the realm of normal activity.”
Under Florida law, it is a felony to knowingly provide a designated foreign terrorist organization with material aid or resources. Therefore, DeSantis said the move to decertify the groups is “totally justified within the law.”
DeSantis stated he doesn’t think “openly siding with brutal terrorist organizations” is good for “a successful country.”
The comments come after Florida’s university system chancellor, Ray Rodrigues, wrote a memo to school leaders about the group National Students for Justice in Palestine (National SJP), which has chapters on two universities in the Florida system. In the memo, the chancellor says the group refers to the Hamas organization as “the resistance” in a toolkit the student group published. It states that Palestinian students who are “in exile are part of this movement” and not just “in solidarity with this movement.” He ordered state universities to shut down any chapters of the groups.
In response, 2024 Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy took to Twitter to call the move unconstitutional and a violation of “students’ right to free speech.”
Since the Oct. 7 attack in Israel that killed 1,400 people, including 32 Americans, DeSantis has been a proponent of condemning the attack. If elected president, he has stated that he would deport foreign nationals and cancel student visas for those who celebrate Hamas.
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