Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday said he stands by the decision to decertify any pro-Palestinian student groups that side with Hamas from state college campuses, arguing that to allow these groups to openly side with “brutal terrorist organizations” is like committing “suicide as a country.”
DeSantis, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying that the pro-Palestinian solidarity group had also claimed to be part of the Hamas movement.
“This is not cancel culture, this group, they themselves said in the aftermath of the Hamas attack that they don’t just stand in solidarity, that they are part of this Hamas movement,” he said. “And so, yeah, you have a right to go out and demonstrate, but you can’t provide material support to terrorism. They’ve linked themselves to Hamas, and so we absolutely decertified them.”
Last week, the chancellor of the state’s university system penned a letter stating that a student group present in at least two universities in the Florida system, known as National Students for Justice in Palestine (National SJP), published a “toolkit” that refers to the Hamas operation as “the resistance” and says that “Palestinian students in exile are PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement.”
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DeSantis said he believes the move is “totally justified within the law,” which states that it is a felony under Florida law to knowingly provide material aid or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
“Their own words are saying they’re part of this organization, that they don’t just stand in solidarity, that they don’t just support what they did, but that this is their movement, too,” DeSantis said. “So once you hitch your wagon to a group like Hamas, that takes you out of the realm of normal activity, and that’s something that we’re going to take action against.”
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DeSantis further questioned whether allowing a group to openly side with a terrorist organization was healthy for the country.
“Are we just going to commit suicide as a country and let groups metastasize who are openly siding with brutal terrorist organizations?” he asked. “I don’t think that’s a recipe for a successful country. I want to have a country where we’re protected from that stuff. So I think we made the right decision. I stand by it 100%.”
DeSantis has been a vocal proponent of cracking down on and condemning the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on Oct. 7 that killed more than 1,400 Israelis. He recently said he would cancel student visas and deport foreign nationals who celebrate Hamas if he is elected president.
Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.