FIRST ON FOX: Attorney General Ashley Moody is telling Florida colleges and universities that the state has a “zero-tolerance policy” for hate crimes amid concerns about anti-Jewish attacks due to the war in the Middle East.
In a memo to 21 college and university campus police chiefs, Moody says her office has heard reports that tensions have spilled over into college campuses in the wake of the Hamas terror attack against Israel.
“Jewish students report feeling threatened as a result of antisemitism on campus. Specific incidents reported in just the last week include a Jewish student at Columbia University who was beaten with a stick in front of the school library after hanging flyers with the names and pictures of Israeli hostages captured by Hamas, and a Jewish student at Drexel University who was the victim of arson of his dorm room,” she says in the memo obtained by Fox News Digital.
She then reminds officials that Florida “has a zero-tolerance policy for hate crimes, including those based on religious and ethnic heritage, and this extends to our college campuses.”
“Florida stands with Israel and those affected by Hamas’ horrific crimes, and we cannot stand by and let those who wish to terrorize, harass, assault or threaten our Jewish communities do so with impunity,” she says.
The memo comes as universities and colleges across the U.S. have seen a number of anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian rallies and protests, with some Jewish students accusing colleges of turning a blind eye to antisemitism.
“As soon as the terrorist attacks occurred, it became a hostile environment for Jewish students,” Julia Wax, a Georgetown University law student, told Fox News on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, some professors have warned there has been a normalization of pro-Hamas sentiment on college campuses that is now coming to fruition.
In her memo, Moody outlines various state statutes that outlaw antisemitic hate crimes, as well as the support of terrorist organizations – of which Hamas is one. Those statutes include legislation signed this year by Gov. Ron DeSantis that bars the harassment or intimidation of someone based on their wearing of items related to religious heritage.
In a statement, Moody says colleges and universities must “act with a sense of urgency to protect Jewish students from unlawful acts motivated by antisemitism and hatred on campus.”
“Israel and the Jewish community are being violently attacked by Hamas and now feel threatened here in the U.S. We must ensure the safety of Jewish students attending colleges and universities in our state,” she said.
Since the attacks, Florida has authorized evacuation flights to bring Floridians in the region back home. At the same time, DeSantis has said the U.S. should not be bringing in refugees from Gaza – expressing concern about bringing more antisemitism into the U.S.