In what has been called an “anti-Semitic” move Friday, nine student groups at UC Berkeley have banned pro-Israel speakers from university events, effectively causing the progressive school to create “Jewish-free” zones.
In an attempt to stop “Zionist views”, Berkeley Law Students for Justice in Palestine (Berkeley LSJP) began the school year by sending a new bylaw to “dozens of student organizations”, nine of which “decided through a democratic voting process” to adopt, they announced via Instagram.
— New York Post (@nypost) September 30, 2022
The bylaw effectively bans any speakers that has “expressed interest and continue to hold views, host, sponsor or promote events in support of Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel and the occupation of Palestine,” according to the New York Post. Apart from guest speakers, this ban would also prevent the school’s dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, from speaking at events, the Post continued.
Chemerinsky expressed his belief that the message sent to many of Berkeley’s students is one of anti-Semitism. “Of course, it is the First Amendment right of students to express their views on any issues,” he wrote to Jewish News of Northern California. “It is troubling to broadly exclude a particular viewpoint from being expressed,” he added. “Indeed, taken literally, this would mean that I could not be invited to speak because I support the existence of Israel, though I condemn many of its policies.”
“If it wasn’t so frightening, one might be able to recognize the irony in the sight of campus progressives trying so hard to signal progressive virtue that they fall victim to a deeper moral shame,” former student and lawyer Kenneth J. Marcus wrote in the Jewish Journal. (RELATED: NYC’s Universities Allegedly Turned a Blind Eye To Anti-Semitism For Years, Complaint Says)
Despite prohibiting pro-Israel speakers, Berkeley LSPJ insists that their actions are not in “opposition to Jewish people or the Jewish religion; in fact, Jewish liberation and Palestinian liberation are intertwined,” they stated in their Instagram post. “Free speech and the exchange of ideas,” they maintained, “cannot be romanticized when the byproduct of such rhetoric causes harm to marginalized communities.”
“The real issue here is discrimination, not speech,” Marcus argued in the Jewish Journal. “By adopting anti-Jewish bylaw provisions, these groups are restricting their successors from cooperating with pro-Israel speakers and groups.”
“The students should be ashamed of themselves,” Marcus continued. “As should grownups who stand quietly by or mutter meekly about free speech as university spaces go as the Nazis’ infamous call, judenfrei. Jewish-free.”