Several student groups at the University of California, Berkeley, voted to forbid pro-Israel speakers from university events, effectively creating “Jewish-free zones.”
In an attempt to stop the spread of Zionist beliefs, Berkeley Law Students for Justice in Palestine sent a new bylaw to “dozens of student organizations.”
According to the announcement, speakers would be banned if they 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.”
Nine of the student groups “decided through a democratic voting process” to adopt the new rule.
The New York Post noted that the policy would also prevent the school’s Jewish dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, from speaking at events.
Chemerinsky told Jewish News of Northern California that “it is the First Amendment right of students to express their views on any issues.”
“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,” the dean continued.
Kenneth Marcus, a former student, wrote for the Jewish News Syndicate, saying “Berkeley develops Jewish-free zones.”
“If it wasn’t so frightening, one might be able to recognize the irony in the sight of campus progressives trying so hard to virtue signal that they fall victim to a deep moral shame,” he added.
Despite banning pro-Israel speakers from events, Berkeley LSJP claims the rule is not in “opposition to Jewish people or the Jewish religion.”
“In fact, Jewish liberation and Palestinian liberation are intertwined,” an Instagram statement said.
“Free speech and the exchange of ideas,” they said, “cannot be romanticized when the byproduct of such rhetoric causes harm to marginalized communities.”
The bylaw claims the goal of the ban is “protecting the safety and welfare of Palestinian students.”
“The students should be ashamed of themselves,” Marcus also wrote in his opinion piece.
“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,” he continued.
Some groups that adopted the bylaw are Berkeley Law Muslim Student Association, Womxn of Color Collective, Queer Caucus, and Middle Eastern and the North African Law Students Association.