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Student organizations at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law are facing backlash from their own dean after adopting a statement promising not to invite a Zionist or pro-Israel speaker to give lectures.
Law Students for Justice in Palestine at Berkeley Law posted an Instagram post on Aug. 21 stating that nine other student organizations have passed a “pro-Palestinian ordinance” stating that they will “not invite” speakers who support Zionism or “the apartheid state of Israel.”
“In the interest of protecting the safety and well-being of Palestinian students on campus, [insert organization name] will not invite speakers who have expressed and continued to hold positions or organize/sponsor/promote events in support of Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel and the occupation of Palestine,” the statute reads.
Law Students for Justice in Palestine at Berkeley Law said nine student organizations have adopted the statement, boycotting Zionist speakers, including the Berkeley Law Muslim Student Association, Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association, Womxn of Color Collective, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Queer Caucus, Community Defense Project, Women of Berkeley Law and law students of African descent.
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Fox News Digital has contacted all of the organizations listed.
The pro-Palestinian student body also calls on “all student organizations at Berkeley Law to take an anti-racist stance” by passing the “pro-BDS ordinance.”
Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky emailed the leaders of all student organizations and rejected the statutes, calling the statement “disturbing” and saying that if “taken literally” would mean he could not speak to these organizations about his support for “the existence of Israel.”
“It is disturbing to broadly exclude a particular point of view from the utterance. Indeed, taken literally, this would mean that I could not be invited to speak because I support the existence of Israel, although I am much of his policies,” Chemerinsky said.
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Chancellor Carol Christ also spoke about how the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement ‘poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty, as well as the rampant exchange of ideas and perspectives on our campus, including debate. and discourse on conflict in the Middle East.'” he added.
While stating that he supports the right of students to “take positions on these and all issues,” Chemerinsky said groups “should be sensitive to — and listen to — all of our students.”
Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, an education organization that educates individuals about: Israel and fight anti-Semitism, Fox News told Digital that these organizations should “rethink their end goals.”
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Misrepresentation of Zionism is anti-Semitic and will never lead to peace. Half of the world’s Jewish people are in Israel, the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people, and the other half probably have friends and/or relatives who deny Jews the right to self-determination creates a double standard against just one country in the world Those who lead biased, anti-peace campaigns must rethink their end goals and be honest about their prejudices against the Jewish people and the only Jewish country in the world,” Rothstein said.
The Berkeley Law Jewish Student Union said in a Medium post that it is concerned that the statement will “disproportionately silence Jewish voices on campus.”
“This ordinance alienates many Jewish students from certain groups on campus. When considering which organizations to join, students should not be forced to choose between identifying as ‘pro-Palestine’ and thereby ‘anti-Israel’ or ‘ pro-Israel’ and thus ‘anti-Palestine’. This dichotomy distorts the complexity of this issue,” the group wrote. “Students can advocate for Palestinians and criticize Israeli policies without denying Israel its right to exist or attacking the identities of other students. an environment in which only one point of view is acceptable.”