(NewsSpace.com) – The Hamas-Israel war continues to cause tension and division around the globe. In the United States, authorities are cracking down hard on antisemitic attacks, which have skyrocketed nearly 400% as protesters attempt to bolster support for both sides. In Florida, however, some universities are taking an even firmer stance.
On Tuesday, October 24, State University System of Florida Chancellor Ray Rodrigues sent a memo to a handful of university presidents. He told them to deactivate two chapters of the activist group Students for Justice in Palestine. He referenced a “toolkit” the chapters sent out that read, “Palestinian students in exile are PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement.” In other words, they stand in support of Hamas, the militant group responsible for more than 1,000 deaths in Israel.
Rodrigues said he consulted with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) to come to the conclusion that the student divisions of this organization must be shut down. Aiding a terrorist organization is a felony in the state. However, they are still free to “form another organization that complies with Florida state statutes and university policies.”
The organization responded by labeling the move “disgraceful” and calling out DeSantis for continuing to disrespect Americans’ First Amendment rights. It further accused him of trying to bolster his own political power. Shutting down the student-led groups, he warned, would create a dangerous precedent where the state could shut down any type of organization that goes against the governor’s values in the future.
This isn’t the first letter Rodrigues has sent on the matter. On October 9, two days after Hamas attacked Israel, he sent out a memorandum addressing the universities’ legal obligation to protect their Jewish students. He told the schools to be on alert for anyone who tries to perpetrate anti-Semitism and reminded officials that it was their obligation to punish people who violated the laws.
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