Berkeley Student Groups Vote to Ban Any Speakers Who Support Israel or Zionism

There is an interesting free speech fight brewing at the University of California Berkeley Law School after nine student groups banned any speakers that support Israel or Zionism. The resolution adopted by the groups bar anyone who supports “Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine.” Berkeley Law’s Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, a self-proclaimed Zionist, has observed that he himself would be banned from speaking to the groups under this resolution.

The bylaw, drafted by UC Berkeley’s Law Students for Justice in Palestine (LSJP), stated that such speakers endanger “the safety and welfare of Palestinian students on campus.”

The student groups who adopted the bylaw include 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.

The controversy raises a conflict between anti-discrimination policies and free speech. These groups clearly have a right to decide who they will invite as speakers. However, the resolution raises the countervailing question of whether the exclusion is discriminatory. Various groups have denounced the policy as antisemitic and note that the school would not tolerate groups imposing a racial exclusion on speakers.

This is a public university that is subject to the First Amendment. In 2019 San Francisco State University settled a lawsuit of Jewish students allegedly blocked from participating in a human rights fair because of their Zionist views.

What is interesting is that these liberal groups are asserting an analogous free speech right invoked by bakers, web designers, and others who have refused services to same-sex weddings. This term the Supreme Court will consider 303 Creative v. Elenis involving a graphic artist who declined to provide services to couples celebrating same-sex marriages on religious grounds. While these cases involve public accommodation laws in the selling of products, the underlying right is based on the right to refuse to engage in creative enterprises that contradict religious or political views.

What is also ironic is that schools like Berkeley effectively impose such exclusions on other speakers. It is rare for top schools to invite conservative or libertarian speakers. When they do, these speakers are often subject to cancel campaigns or disruptions to prevent them from being heard. There is a de facto exclusion of many conservative and libertarian speakers.

I believe that these groups have a right to pick their own speakers (as opposed to a school barring Jewish groups from a human rights fair or event). Clearly, they could effectively impose such an exclusion by simply not inviting such speakers. This is likely to be viewed differently from the SFSU case in that sense.

Yet, having a right to do something does not make it right. The resolution shows an intolerance for opposing views that has become a common feature on our campuses. These groups should welcome such debate and dialogue.

What is particularly concerning is the use of the common claim that free speech is harmful. The view of speech as harmful is now dominant on many faculties. I recently wrote on this issue in an article entitled “Harm and Hegemony: The Decline of Free Speech in the United States.

It is also worth noting that the inclusion of an LGBT organization would exclude most Jewish students who may feel marginalized at the school due to their sexuality or identity. They would likely want to join such groups but cannot endorse an exclusion that they consider antisemitic.

The students groups, in my view, have the edge on any free speech court challenge, but they are dead wrong on the use of that right. This is only the latest example of the growing intolerance for opposing views that now characterizes higher education. The difference is that this exclusion has outraged many on the left. Hopefully, it will prompt greater concern for the overall loss of diversity of viewpoints on our campuses.


161 thoughts on “Berkeley Student Groups Vote to Ban Any Speakers Who Support Israel or Zionism”

  1. It is the Establishment Clause that make possible the dialect (The Freedom of Free Speech) of Religious epistemology,
    segregated from the State (at the Federal Level and as Adopted per State Levels).
    [The separation of church and state affords religious freedom, a fundamental right. Hence it’s discussion]

    The Dean is the Employee of a State owned and Federally funded institution.
    Thus his missives are written to commensurate with His position at the University.

    The Students are afforded the Freedom to choose Their Speech (or Speakers) by the First Amendment and specifically protected by the Establishment Clause.


    At best, the Student Groups MAY RUN AFOUL if they violate these conditions:

    Student-organized Bible clubs are OK as long as three conditions are met:

    (1) the activity must take place during non-school hours;
    (2) school officials can’t be involved in organizing or running the club, and
    (3) the school must make its facilities available to all student groups on an equal basis.
    So your Bible club couldn’t be the only group allowed access to the school grounds.
    Neither could your school let other student groups use the building for meetings and events and deny your Bible club the same opportunity.

    The organized distribution of Bibles or any other holy book during the school day is unconstitutional,
    even if teachers aren’t the ones actually handing out the Bibles,
    and even if they’re not used as a part of the school’s educational program.

    That’s because the school building or grounds are still being used to spread a religious doctrine at a time when students are required to be there.
    That’s what religious freedom is all about — you are free to worship as you choose — even if that means not at all.


    Jonathan Says:

    “… Yet, having a right to do something does not make it right. The resolution shows an intolerance for opposing views that has become a common feature on our campuses. These groups should welcome such debate and dialogue. …”

    As you do, I also believe in Discussion (dialect), but in this case The Students are ‘Taking a Stand’. Enough of ‘Discussion’, They are Woke.
    The shear ‘ACT’ of what They have done here is the Declaration (a Magna Carta Libertatum).
    They seek to remove the tentacles of the King and Church (be it The King of England or King Solomon).
    And indeed, We have had Decades upon Decades of ‘Discussion’.

    It begins with the Separation of Church and State. ‘WOKE’ is this/the ‘Act of Separation’.

    -Bravo- Berkeley

  2. The anti-free speech groups certainly are free to invite, or not to invite, anyone they please. These same intolerant organizations, always on the Left, don’t stop at this illiberal action, they double-down by organizing shut-down and cancellation campaigns against conservative speakers invited by other campus organizations.

  3. One wonders if progressive American Jews will “awaken” to the fact that these little Stalinists thugs will be coming after them sooner than they think. Probably not. The level of their dementedness is demonstrated by the fact that Ilhan Omar’s key advisers have been progressive American Jews. The law dean at Berkeley is a far left legal scholar and it is quite surprising that he refers to himself as a Zionist. Then so does J Street so go figure. They remind me of the the Jews of the Soviet Union who thought Stalin would be their savior and instead became their executioner. Israel is a dynamic, capitalistic, and democratic country that like all nations has it sflaws and deserves to be criticized when it acts in wrongful ways. But these leftist groups are simply Anti-Semitic and totalitarian.

  4. Any time this happens at a University, particularly at the law schools, every student involved should be warned and instructed about the school’s policy concerning the free exchange of ideas. Any student that engages in stifling free speech after that warning should be expelled with prejudice and blacklisted to prevent entrance into any law school. If a law student has trouble comprehending the Constitution they should never be permitted to be a lawyer.

  5. Over privileged brats and the poorer useful idiots neither bright enough to know they are being used by the Marxists and Don’t have any problems so they have to create one.

  6. Hand each student a blank map of the Mideast and North Africa and have them fill in each country. Then, have them write at least one concise paragraph about each, summarizing the highlights of the countries’ respective histories over the past three thousand years.

    I bet few if any could name a fraction of the countries let alone produce a spec about the vast complexities of regional politics. Otherwise they are lemmings mindlessly following what they are told to believe.

    “Gump! What is your sole purpose in this army?”

    “To do whatever you tell me Drill Sargent.”

    The right of passage of a university student is to learn how to think for one’s self, to engage people with different ideas, to form unique perspectives, to become an inquisitive, logical unique person. Free from labels other than one’s personal and family name.

    To do this the students must move beyond being spoon fed by teachers, social media, Google and Wikipedia and actually read, travel and talk to and listen to real people.

    1. I understand what you are saying. but I would note that I doubt there is a single country in the mid-east or north africa that existed prior to WWI. So it is a bit hard to do a 3000 year history of say Syria, or Turkey.
      Some of these modern countries – like egypt and turkey have antecedents for 3000 years.
      But many are just the lines the western powers drew on a map after WWI

      Of course it is unlikely students know that.

      1. Interesting point and well taken: exactly what are the borders of Persia, Babylonia, Assyria, the Ottoman Empire, etc.

        1. Later we have the mess in north africa caused by the Italian’s destruction of the ethopian empire under Hallie Sallessie

      2. “many are just the lines the western powers drew on a map after WWI” You mean like in 1947 when by threat of violence the US and UN established Israel in the middle of what was prior Palestine, without any vote allowed by those ME Semites affected by the decision? (Zionists later claimed exclusive use of the word Semite when it prior meant persons of ME descent.)

        The US/UN justification to use the threat of violence was that Jews allegedly needed a national homeland to maintain physical safety. Strangely though, Jews barely comprise 50% of all Israel residents.

        The US/UN ignored the fact that Palestinians lost their land and were harmed for the Jew’s alleged safety, as do modern Israel defenders ignore the fact that 50% or more of all Jews have absolutely no need for Israel for safety, living in other countries. And calling a nation a democracy is a stretch when it legally prohibits all Palestinian men from citizenship. And Israel either considers or already forces all citizens to take a public oath supporting Israel forever as a Jewish State, not exactly a democratic oath. Would Israel defenders allow the US to force an oath for citizens to support religion X?

        1. A problem exists in your response because you seem to have your facts wrong and are promoting incorrect ones. That happens, so I will try to answer some of the questions you seem to have.

          After WW2, one browsing the American newspapers noted the references to Palestinians. They were Jews. Only later was the name Palestinian used for Arabs living in the land of Israel.

          You probably heard of the Kingdom of David or Solomon. They were the forerunner of the modern state of Israel. Where do most of the Palestinians originate? All over. There was never a Palestinian state. Look at a lot of their names. Arabs from Arab lands migrated towards productive activity stimulated by Jews farming the land. Here are some Palestinian names when they migrated to these lands, Mugrabi from north Africa or al Masri, which means Egypt.

          How were the Mid East nations created? The Ottoman Empire fell, and like what previously happened, those lands fell into the hands of the major powers.

          Those lands were called mandates. How do you think Syria was born or most of the other nations? The British mandate originally was all to go for a Jewish homeland. The British divided that into halves and one half became Jordan, leaving the other half for Israel. When Israel declared its independence, no one outside of those living in Israel thought Israel would survive. The UN essentially let everyone fight it out, and on a specified day, borders were drawn based on who controlled the areas. That line was the green line which gave Israel only a tiny portion of the original mandate, and most of that was dessert.

          The nations surrounding the new State of Israel refused to make peace, and several wars broke out.
          Israel prevailed, and the lands of Judea and Samaria formerly occupied by Jordan returned to Israeli sovereignty. Those same International laws provide the borders for many countries, including Syria mentioned earlier.

          Despite what you say in your last paragraphs, Israel is a Democracy, the only democracy in that area. Arab Israelis have all the rights of Jewish Israelis. Arabs are on the Supreme Court and in the Knesset. Can you say the same about any Arab nation? Or even most non-Arab ones in the world?

          I am glad to discuss any issue involving Israel you desire. Israel has warts like every nation, but it is a phenomenal nation that respects individual rights. It is also exceptionally productive, so almost assuredly, when you sent your response, you utilized a lot of Israeli technology.

          Despite our differences, I still wish you a good day.

        2. While you are correct – at least initially regarding Palestine – which was arbitrarily created in 1917.

          Israel was the creation of the 1948 war. The arabs tried to destroy the jews.
          They failed. All kinds of problems resulted – many of which remain today.

          Regardless we can not fix the messes we made in 1917 or those we made in the Balkans.
          But we can try not to repeat them.

          We can not go back to Caine and Able to give reparations for the entirety of past history.

          Absolutely Semite does not mean Jew. Anti-semitic usually means anti-jewish – but if you prefer to use anti-jewish to be clear – that is fine.
          Nor is anti-israel the same as either anti-semite or anti-jew – though quite often they are together.

          “The State of Israel had a population of approximately 9,593,000 inhabitants as of September 2022. Some 74% were Jews of all backgrounds (about 7,021,000 individuals)”

          There are plenty of palestinians that live in Israel that are citizens. The core issues is that those who left during the 48 war are not being allowed to return. Like Cain’s murder of Able as some point you need to move on. How many palestinians living outside of israel were born before 48 ?

          The palestinians in the west bank and Gaza have all had the oportunity to form their own country. They have repeatedly declined.
          They have fought multiple wars to destroy the jews and failed. The other arab nations that used to support them have nearly all made peace with Israel.

          Israel does not have an establishment clause in their constitution.

          There are plenty of nations where church and state are entangled or even the same – the UK as an example. The monarch is the head of the church of england.

          Everything that is different from the US is not anti-democratic.

          Most americans think – with good cause our way is better. But that is for us to prove after a couple of hundred more years as a nation.

        3. Kimmie, when I responded previously, I responded in general. I will now add a bit more.

          You wrote: “You mean like in 1947 when by threat of violence the US and UN established Israel in the middle of what was prior Palestine,”

          Understandably, your dates reflect common arguments of today that lack historical detail. Much of the information requires historical knowledge not known to most. America’s involvement preceded the 1940s and even included an American Treaty linking America to that part of the world with Britain and the international community through the League of Nations. The treaty reflecting this is the Anglo-American Convention, ratified by the Senate.

          If one wishes to look further back, we can look at the dates 920 BC-597 BC. Those dates are of the Jewish Kingdoms and Kings which reigned over Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.

          A continuous Jewish presence in those lands existed for over 3,000 years, and in the first census in the mid-1800s, Jews were noted to be the majority religious population. Jewish Holy books mention Jerusalem continuously, yet there is no mention of Jerusalem in the Koran. King Hussein is the only Arab leader ever to visit Jerusalem.

          Preceding the British Mandate, the Ottomans occupied the area for 400 years, and it was left desolate.

          1. Allan…S.Meyer…..Great history lesson. Thank you! Btw I lead snging for a group of seniors (many have Alzheimer’s)….Last week we met on Tuesday, the last day of Rosh Hashana….We sang some iconic Jewish songs (Hevenu Shalom Aleichem, etc) I blew the shofar, one lady danced the Hora, we played finger cymbals….it was a wonderful experience! I’m a Southern Baptist, but I love Jewish culture and appreciate and respect its incredible history.
            This week, Yom Kippur, right?

            1. Thanks, Cindy. A Southern Baptist blowing the Shofar is an honor for everyone involved.

              I note that Kimmie disappeared. I wonder why? I will have to accept it as another individual with a weak position and a weaker understanding of history.

              1. S. Meyer “A weaker understanding of history” is being very kind. Historical facts are a real buzz kill for most Lefties.

                Are y’all going up the river to see the Fall Foliage?? Of course, you’ll have it there in the City, too. Lucky!! Our part of Texas will have some in late November, but it’s not y’alls.

                1. “Not this year. I haven’t been back to my NYC apartment for almost 3 years. When in NYC during the fall, I travel to the Storm King (outdoor sculpture) area. That is the best way to see the fall foliage.

                  NYC politics are destroying the city. We used to walk in all the streets and areas (10-20 miles in a day), but I am hesitant. As I mentioned recently, one of our female friends got beaten up in the street. She ducked into a supermarket, where they told her she was the second woman beaten up by the same person that day. This was in midtown Manhattan.

                  Have you been to the city recently?

                  1. S. Meyer…….Our daughter lived there from 1998-2000. We had never been to NYC before then——except when I was a teenager I had flown in to Idlewild, and had a layover there on my way to Paris. I was astonished seeing, from the air, swimming pools! It was Long Island but I thought it was Manhattan! LOL!
                    Your story about your friend and all of the other news reports are almost impossible to think about! I can’t imagine how sick you must feel because it depresses the hell out of me. Each one of our visits in those two years, the “Rudy years”, was magical. Honestlawyermostly and I walked EVERYWHERE! From Tribeca to Caffe Reggio, to Nathans, the Algonquin, over to the Met, back to Tom’s Restaurant and St. John’s ….everywhere! It was thrlling to take-in the City in such a personal and physical way.
                    Our daughter lived, first at W. 95th and Columbus, then moved to Canal and Hudson. We usually stayed at a Marriott near Broadway and 45th (?)
                    We all miss NYC terribly and mourn its loss. I’m so sad for you native New Yorkers.
                    P.S. I LOVE Cliff Robertson’s apartmernt in the movie “Sunday in New York”. I’ve dreamed about that apartment! That’s what I would have wanted as a “New Yorker”.

                    1. ” flown in to Idlewild,”

                      That was the name when we were young. Idlewild (golf course) Airport was renamed JFK after the assassination.

                      “Rudy years”, was magical.”

                      Yes, Democrats prefer the George Floyd years.

                      ” Honestlawyermostly and I walked”

                      I prefer walking to anything else the city has, spending little time on what the guidebooks say. The guidebooks gave us extra spice to our enjoyment. Walking 10-20 miles seeing different things and meeting different people was a pleasure which could easily be highlighted with the theater, opera, or museum. It was exciting.

    2. Matt Taibi grew up in Russia, and wrote an excellent article about how little the US diplomats in Russia knew about Russia.
      That not only were they clueless – but the did not care. They never bothered to learn russian, to learn anything about the culture to get to know the people.

      And these are the people who are advising our presidents on how to avoid nuclear war.

      Nor is this just about Russia.

      Read “The Ugly America” it is an excellent book, even though it is almost 75 years old, and tells much the same story as Taibbi.

      American’s – especially those in our government and foreign service have been incredibly ignorant of the rest of the world – even the parts they were tasks to work with, study, analyze and negotiate with.

      1. Thank you for the book reference! With respect to the dividing of the map of the world, there is a book “Paris: 1919: Six Months that Changed the World” by Margaret MacMillan that details the arbitrary process that produced many of the borders of the modern map after World I.

        I learned one thing over the years, there are more sides to a coin than one and that the western mindset cannot be applied to a non western situation.

        1. Not familiar with your book. But the post WWI stupidity of dividing up the world – particularly the mideast is well documented in many places.

          “With Lawrence in Arabia” does an excellent job of documenting, how the western powers divided up the mid-east independent of pre-existing cultural, tribal or natural groups. Also picking who would be the leaders independent of pre-existing leaders that already had the respect of their people.

          We are currently in the process of bemoaning Putin’s annexations of portions of Ukraine based on rigged local referenda.
          But the US did essentially the same thing in the Balkan’s under Clinton. I am not looking to legitimize what Putin has done – but pretending that we do not behave similarly when it suits is incredibly hypocritical.

          We are also incredibly stupid politically – we want to force “democracy” on the rest of the world. Interestingly the US rarely forces democratic government matching our own. But more importantly we operate on this thesis that democracy is perfect and the only choice for everyone.

          Democracy – is a form of government that requires certain levels of prosperity, standard of live to sustain.
          Further it requires an educated populace.

          We spent 2 decades dicking arround in Afghanistan and slightly less in Iraq to fundimentally accomplish nothing.
          We accomplished the primary purpose in Afghanistan within a few months – we deposed a regime which had participated in acts of war against us.

          Bizarely a president whose major foriegn policy platform position and challenge to Gore – was opposition to US nationbuilding.
          After 9/11 engaged in the most consquential nation building in our history

      2. Although I agree with your opinions, factually Matt Taibbi grew up somewhere in the toniest of the tony suburbs west of Boston and — like Caroline Kennedy — attended the very ultra tony Concord Academy west of Boston. He went to college at NYU, which was too plebian, so he switched to and graduated from the ultra ultra tony Bard. He did do a semester abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia. He graduated from Bard after the fall of the Soviet Union, and according to Wikipedia, he worked in Ubekistan (from which he was deported for criticising its president), Mongolia and Russia pre Putin. Given his experience in what was then the former Soviet Union, he smelled the rat in Russiagate from the get go

        1. The rat in russia gate was blatantly obvious from the get go.

          There was never never never any way Putin was going to favor Trump – whose policies were actively harmful to Russia over Clinton whose policies were favorable.

          Trump’s stupid fawning over Putin aside.
          Putin’s hostilish relationship with Clinton aside – one should remember that despite political gamesmanship Clinton collected a 500K speaking fee, and the CF collected hundreds of millions from Oligarchs.

          There is all kinds of personal pettiness going on between Putin and Biden – but it mostly does not matter – as Putin benefits from Biden’s presidency.

          There is a fundimental difference between Trump on one side, and Biden, Obama, Clinton even Bush.

          That is Trump actually means what he says. I think Trump got along well with foreign leaders. Regardless, he knew exactly what he wanted, and he was going to leave with that. While everything is fungible with Bush. Obama, Clinton, Biden.

          Trump meant exactly what he said when he said his policies would be america first.
          He meant what he said when he said he was getting out of foreign entanglements.

          Obama would have faced exactly the same knife in your back gamesmanship from the “deep state” had he actually tried to do some of the things he promised – like get out of mideast conflicts.

          So few people are capable of seeing what is obvious.

          Trump’s foreign policy successes, the ability to get out of entanglemnets, being able to redirect towards Asia, Getting a peace deal in the mideast, …. Were ALL interdependent with other policies – like his energy policy.

          One thing the Ukraine war should make clear to everyone is that energy policy is a matter of both national and global security.
          Had the US continued to grow domestic oil and gas – Russia would not have dared invade Ukraine and gas prices would have stayed down.
          Europe is busily firing up nuclear and coal plants – because if Putin cuts off oil and gas over the winter Europe will be in deep $hit.
          Frankly they are going to get hit hard economically no matter what. They have inflation from bad covid monetary policy – like the US.
          They have energy prices going through the roof – with no end in sight. Energy shortages mean factory shutdowns.

          Right now the US is the largest Energy Supplier to Europe. Biden is trying to keep Trump’s guarantee that the US would make up any shortfall from Russia – a guarantee that significantly disempowered Russia globally. But Biden did not continue the domestic energy policies that would have enabled the US to keep those committments easily.

          The US becoming a significant energy exporter disempowers oil tyrants globally.

          Trump’s foreign policy diminished the power of the deep state and they got back at him for it.

      3. I thought that’s what schools like Georgetown U. and a few others are expected to be about, training future diplomats and those who wish to work in the Foreign Service. It’s astonishing that we can give out ambassadorships out to people who are politically connected rather than those who are trained in world history and foreign affairs. Am I wrong about this?

        1. Trump and Kushner negotiated the Abraham accords – the first mideast agreement since Jimmy Carter, and though Carters agreement was unbeleivably important, and resulted in peace with Israel for 40 years. The Abrham accords normalize relations between most of the mideast and Israel and probally will result in more change.

          Independently Trump flipped US foreign policy from Russia facing to China Facing, and get most of the nations of asia – many of who were reluctant chinese allies under Obama to work together to contain China.
          Japan is rebuilding its military – particularly it navy. Blue water Navies take a century to build – ships are easy, the sailors and experience to fight them is very very hard. The US has it, The UK has it. Japan has it. Germany never managed, France never managed. Russia managed a submarire force but not a real navy. China has ships, it does not have a blue water navy. Japan has declared that an attack on Taiwan is an attack in the Japanese homeland. The Philipines has reopened Subic Bay to the US. That RADICALLY reduces the costs of maintaining the pacific fleet. The US and Japan are building a new Joint base on an island on the west side of Japan 3 times closer to china than Okinawa. this will tripple the ability of the US to project power against China in a conflict WITHOUT aircraft carriers. Austrailia is leasing US Los Angles Class nuclear Submarines. Vietnam is working with the US to contain China. US relations with India improved dramatically – and India is working with the US and other asian allies to contain china.

          Trump accomplished all of this with few people almost completely independent of the state department.

          As with most everything – it is not the right education, it is not knowledge of culture, it is not credentials that count.

          The paretto principle rules. 80% of what is accomplished is by 20% of the people.
          Of that 80%, 80% of that is accomplished by 20% of the 20%.
          Rinse repeat.

    3. RE:”Hand each student a blank map of the Mideast and North Africa and have them fill in each country.” Suggest that the maps will be different The history of Israel and Palestine will be colored by the bias of the sources referenced for their work.

      1. ZZDoc,
        You make a very good point. This region of the planet has a long and complicated history.

  7. Typical progressives. From now on, why not report when progressives engage in an exchange of ideas. This is tiring.

  8. Speaking of free speech, CNN is being taken over by a Trump donor, a John Malone. The sky has fallen. Get out of the way.

    1. Maybe, just maybe we can hope for a tiny bit more sanity in the future.

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