When Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and slaughtered more than 1,300 men, women and children dead, Students for Justice in Palestine promptly organized rallies across U.S. college campuses, heralding the murderers as “liberation fighters” showing the “creativity necessary” to accomplish their mission.
But on this so-called “Day of Resistance,” the SJP went far beyond just celebrating the odious massacre dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. In the official information "toolkit" issued to coordinate these rallies, the SJP proclaimed: “Palestinian students in exile are PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement.”
In response to this overt admission of being “PART of” this Hamas movement to eradicate the Jewish state of Israel, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) instructed the Florida public university system to deactivate campus chapters of National Students for Justice in Palestine. The governor also demanded deportation of Hamas-supporting students.
Both the governor’s order and his demand are prudent, lawful and constitutional.
In ordering the deactivation of SJP chapters, DeSantis cited Florida state law making it a felony to “knowingly provide material support … to a designated foreign terrorist organization." The U.S. Department of State designated Hamas as a Foreign Terror Organization (FTO) in 1997. To repeat, SJP claims not just to stand “in solidarity with” those who are committing the atrocities against Israeli but to be “PART of this movement.” The governor seeks to enforce existing state law.
Make no mistake. Withholding material support (as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act) for an entity claiming to be part of the Hamas’ Operation Al-Aqsa Flood terror campaign does NOT suppress free-speech rights. Individual students remain free to espouse their Jew hatred and to applaud both the means and aims of Hamas—vile though they are.
However, universities must cease providing SJP access to university facilities, storage units, student government funding, catering services, participation in student fairs, space to hang flyers, and access to staff and leadership training. It is appalling that university resources across other parts of the nation continue to freely flow to SJP.
Ongoing funding of SJP also violates civil rights law. Jewish students must be accorded the same civil rights protection as every other racial and ethnic group—no more, no more less. University-sponsored or enabled discrimination—including toleration of antisemitic (including anti-Zionist) behavior that goes beyond the bounds of free speech—must stop.
Hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. But when antisemitic activity breaches these bounds, universities must comply with their obligations under the Civil Rights Act. Sadly, many universities fail to prevent or respond properly to non-constitutionally protected antisemitic activity.
For years, SJP members have engaged in unlawful practices, including a prolonged interruption in 2019 of a Vassar College event focused on the indigenous Jews of the Middle East—lambasting the audience with chants of “from the river to the sea”—the Hamas call for the genocide of Jews living in the Jewish homeland between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.
In addition to defunding SJP chapters, it’s prudent to deport foreign students here on student visas who are “activist” members of SJP and other pro-Hamas student organizations. We’ve seen numerous examples of hate-filled student organizations treating Gazan paragliders who slaughtered more than 200 Israelis at a music festival as honorable heroes and encouraging even more violent “resistance” to Israel’s existence.
The Immigration and Nationality Act specifies that "any alien who endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization … is inadmissible." Immigration law also deems inadmissible anyone “whose entry or proposed activities in the Unites States the Secretary of State has reasonable ground to believe would have potentially serious and adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.”
Some mistakenly rely on a 1945 Supreme Court case—Bridges v. Wixon—to argue the Constitution prohibits deportation on such grounds. At the time, the law required deportation of those affiliated with the Communist Party. The majority opinion overtly refrained from ruling on the constitutionality of deportation based on Communist Party affiliation.
Instead, the majority held the deportation unlawful because of a “misconstruction of the term of [Communist Party] affiliation” and an “unfair hearing” related to Harry Bridges’ membership in the Communist Party. So, no, this case does not provide a legal argument for permitting Hamas celebrants to remain in the United States.
We lawfully CAN deport Hamas supporters. As a matter of prudent public policy, such deportations must become reality.
As for Hamas-supporting student organizations: No more free pizza, meeting spaces and marketing courtesy of decent, hard-working taxpayers. Defund SJP, and deport supporters of terror NOW.
This piece originally appeared in MSN