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Lewis Morris / October 6, 2022

UC Berkeley Censors the Jews

The anti-Semitic actions of certain student groups at Cal Berkeley’s School of Law are bigoted, hateful, and chilling.

The University of California, Berkeley, was once heralded as the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. Now it appears the famously leftist school may also be free speech’s cemetery.

At the beginning of this academic year, nine student groups at Berkeley’s School of Law amended their bylaws to — we kid you not — enforce a total ban on inviting any speakers on campus who support Israel. The organizations, the bylaw states, “will not invite speakers that have 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.”

This statute, which is reminiscent of 1930s Nazi Germany, was written by the Berkeley Law Students for Justice in Palestine. It was adopted by other anti-Semitic student groups including Women of Berkeley Law, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association, Law Students of African Descent, and the Queer Caucus.

The bylaw also states that banning pro-Israel speakers is “protecting the safety and welfare of Palestinian students.” Really? Are there a lot of incidents of Zionists beating up Palestinians at Berkeley? No. In fact, not even one. This is not about protecting anyone’s physical safety. It’s not even about protecting their delicate sensibilities from uncomfortable truths that spoil their precious fictional narrative, which is the basis of the Woke movement. What it is about is shutting down free speech and banning Jews from campus, plain and simple.

The true motives of the Left couldn’t be any clearer. Progressives do not support free speech. They have systematically shut down avenues of alternative thought at colleges and universities across the country. They are now so confident in their success at stifling speech that they openly engage in anti-Semitism at one of America’s most well-known universities.

Kenneth Marcus, founder and chairman of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, wrote a blistering op-ed calling attention to the establishment of these “Jewish Free” zones at Berkeley and other colleges around the country, including the State University of New York at New Paltz and elsewhere.

“If it wasn’t so frightening,” writes Marcus, “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.”

Since the UC system in California and the SUNY system in New York are among the largest state-funded public college networks in the country, their respective state governments are complicit in these anti-Semitic actions. So far, no one in either the Golden State or the Empire State governments has expressed any concern about this naked expression of Jew hatred.

Even the dean of the Berkeley Law School, Erwin Chemerinsky, won’t fully stand up against this obvious attack on freedom. And he’s Jewish. Here’s what Berkeley Law’s fearless leader had to say: “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.”

Chemerinsky probably had to get that qualifier in there about Israeli policies to keep his office from being fire-bombed. In a response to Marcus, Chemerinsky points out that only a handful of student groups out of the 100 at Berkeley adopted this ban. And here’s the clincher: “It is important to recognize that law student groups have free speech rights, including to express messages that I and others might find offensive.”

Chemerinsky is completely wrong. Rights for one group are not established by taking rights away from other groups. These organizations don’t have the right to deny other groups based on their ethnic or ancestral identity. Such a system is anti-American, anti-civil rights, and anti-free speech.

It doesn’t matter that these groups represent a small minority. History tells us where this leads. Today, it’s college campuses. What about next week? What about next year?

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