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. For decades the Left avoided the charge of anti-Semitism by insisting that it was anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic. But that was just a cover, and now the mask is off. You don’t have to be a Zionist to support Israel, yet you will be banned anyway. Tlaib just lowered the bar with her blatant anti-Semitism, and she ripped the mask off the anti-Zionist vs. anti-Semite ruse. Maybe, in addition to losing Hispanic voters, the Dems will also lose their Jewish base. But they’ll still have their faithful black vote as long as they keep shoveling out the welfare and anti-police rhetoric.

  2. How is it, that in this great United States of America,– flagship of the world for freedom, individual liberty, and equality–, the umbrella entity can be held prisoner to the will of factional, minority, special-interest groups (tribes) –who can only exert strength by uniting together to become “the squeaky wheel that gets the oil?”
    I pose this question to the legal minds out there:
    Since when does “in loco parentis” put the students in control of speech policy? While I agree with the good professor that the students may prevail- as students exercising their free speech,–I ponder the inherent authority of organized student groups.
    If Berkeley (subject to First Amendment) is to relegate/cede speech control to students, then wouldn’t the same parameters in the Tinker SCOTUS decision apply to students (who, by such relegation, stand in the shoes of Berkeley)? The Tinker case delineated the proper standard to justify censored speech by educational institutions,–it cannot just be based on the unpleasantness or discomfort caused by the speaker(s).
    Perhaps Berkeley’s Deans and president need to review the charters of both the institution, its separate schools/colleges, and its student groups, to reflect that student groups cannot do what Berkeley could not? I dunno, just thinking….

    1. I agree Lin. The rising issue of a public/private partnership to censor free speech needs to be addressed by the courts immediately. I don’t see how a “student group,” whose existence is approved under rules established by a public university, can create bylaws that would be unconstitutional for the university.

  3. The left is loaded with dummies, making up 99% of their population. They get their “education” from Leftist Indoctrination Entities or LIEs, not genuine colleges and univiersities. So, naturally, leftists are ignorant of history, economics, science, law, business, and just about every other field of human endeavor.

    Leftists hate anything advancing freedom, liberty, and human decency. Leftists also have a kean awareness of their own lack of intelligence and decency. Leftists know that they are inferior people, which is why they must necessarily do whatever they can to silence and attack people who are superior to them.

    Consequently, it should hardly come as no surprise that leftists flunk “The Israel Test.”

  4. “[S]uch speakers endanger ‘the safety and welfare of Palestinian students on campus.'”

    It used to be that psychologically frail people hid their weaknesses. Now they flaunt them in public.

  5. It would be interesting to keep a “Collegiate First Amendment Scorecard” and count censorship bans enacted by conservative versus liberal campus groups. Just of academic interest.

  6. It’s 2022 and the USA and it is still populated y anti-Semites. These folks can use other words and ideas, but it ontinues to be anti-Semitism.

    1. Yea that’s pretty awful …some of those anti-semites even parade in Virginia, carry flags and scream Jews will not replace us or attack the Capital. That’s really awful.

  7. Not exactly a surprise here. There has always been a large segment of anti-semitism in the left. It used to be hidden well and you only heard it at little parties and somewhat exclusive get togethers when there were no Jewish members or associates known to be around. It is seldom hidden any more and is outright blatant and in-your-face. I know the right has been blamed for this for decades but the viciousness of conversations at these events and actions was always far more appalling than anything I heard on the right. I never understood why so many of my Jewish Friends and colleagues, and national Jewish leaders stayed in the Liberal and progressive movement when their own non Jewish colleagues spoke and acted so badly towards them. One of the reasons I slowly left liberalism and became a conservative and have stayed there.
    It’s funny when you have a military accent (raised in military, nobody can place you) and you move through various circles and everyone thinks you are one of the circle because you smile and talk little. People tend to not self censor and you really hear a lot of vicious material. Hypocrisy, I think you call it.
    Berkeley-a true Athenian democracy-i.e. mob rule. Toast of the town 1 year then exiled and all property seized the next year, no rights except what the mob gives you. Even the Romans saw that as insane, hence the Republic.

  8. The revolution always eats its young.

    Jews are primarily Democrats, and it is Democrats who nurtured these antisemites.

    Will Jews regret their support when the sit in the tumbrils?

  9. These Berkley student groups prove the wisdom of the 15th century saying, “children should be seen and not heard.” When and if they mature into teenagers, the rule can be relaxed.

    1. RE”|When and if they mature into teenagers, the rule can be relaxed.” Would that only be true. Realize that their forebears have already ‘matured’ and own the keys to the blood bank. The ‘kids’ are on line for the tasitng.

  10. RIGHT ON !

    I support any Movement that maintains a Separation of Church and State.
    Federal and State Governments of the U.S.A.: Should be Banned from and Punishable by Law,
    if conducting ANY business with a Country that ‘Does Not Adhere to a Strict Separation of Church and State’,
    In Their Laws (Their Form of Government). That includes the Semite region (Iran, Israel, etc.., any and all Countries.)

    If it does not meet this criteria, then to bad. Democracy (The ‘Commodity of Democracy’), is a free-market untethered and unencumbered by restrictions (Religious restrictions).

    I also think Banking (Central Banking | Finance | Fin Tech) is a Economic Theology (a Religion).
    Our Constitution needs Amending to rectify this separation. A Separation of Church, Banking, and State.

    Right On, The Republic of U.C.Berkeley got this one Right. It’s a step in the right direction. ✬✬✬✬✬

    Lets make it Right ! Lets make this Country Great Again.

  11. Just who runs the university? Shouldn’t the Dean be the one “guiding” these naive young minds as to how to behave in this world? This started when I was in college in the 60’s and students were having “sit-ins”. They should have been expelled at that time and this nonsense of the ignorant leading the show should have been stopped.

    1. Upstate, you may have provided an uncorking link. This is all that came through:

      “Substack is experiencing technical problems.”

  12. Free speech for a State Attorney in selectively enforcing Florida State Laws? That the Tampa Bay Times failed to disclose he was nominated by Bill Clinton is the tell. So much for Florida Statutes. Like Biden like Hinkle

    Judge favors free speech arguments in Warren vs. DeSantis case

    The federal judge considering Andrew Warren’s challenge to his suspension by Gov. Ron DeSantis declined in a written order Thursday to immediately reinstate the ousted state attorney, but appeared to favor Warren’s arguments that his removal violated his free speech rights.

    The governor is not Warren’s boss, the judge opined, and has no right to tell him how to do his job.

    In a 29-page order filed Thursday, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle elaborated on thoughts he expressed amid arguments in the case two weeks ago, including his preference for Warren and DeSantis to hash out the case in a trial.

    1. It seems to me that the free speech argument is a red herring, and an occasion of judicial malfeasance.

      TAMPA, Fla.— Today, Governor Ron DeSantis suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit due to neglect of duty. The Governor has the authority to suspend a state officer under Article IV, Section 7 of the Constitution of the State of Florida. ….

      “State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida.” ….The Governor has the authority under the Florida Constitution to suspend state officials for reasons of misfeasance, malfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony.

  13. I wonder how the Queer Caucus, Women of Berkeley Law, Womxn of Color Collective and some of these other groups would be treated in Palestine and most of the other countries that fund and support the Palestinian’s authoritarian leadership including Hamas and the PA/PLO/Fatah leadership?

    These organizations were justified in using free speech to gain a place at the table of our Universities. Now that are there, they want to take seats away from those who do not agree.

    Kids in High School, other students should watch, learn, who they are, what they are, what they or anyone else will do if ever given the power … they will do this to you.

  14. Would these groups give up their 1A “edge” if they were funded by UC itself or by mandatory fees from all students attending UC?

  15. One would think that there would be an adult or 2 in the room or in the administrative office who would cicerone these naive children as they venture into adulthood . . . and apparently . . . one would be wrong!

  16. Well, it is obvious that Zionism has total control over US policy. It needs to be discussed and deep 6’d as soon as possible.

    1. Discussed. Absolutely. These organizations are doing the deep 6ing on their own.

      Why, when you are in the minority, is it like a Svengali controlling US policy? Maybe,
      having an ally in the Middle East, committed to freedom of all religions, lifestyles and peace, is beneficial to the US.

      1. “Maybe, having an ally in the Middle East, committed to freedom of all religions, lifestyles and peace, is beneficial to the US.”

        One might hope the hype (lie) was true. But every potential avenue of evaluation proves it is not true.

        Besides, the words you used are simply ludicrous. Israel is a religious ethnic state, with ZERO desire of other religions , and especially not peace. Absolutely idiotic.

        1. Earlier I explained why I thought your third paragraph was ludicrously wrong (your word).

          Perhaps you think today’s better ally is Iran which calls the US the big satan.

          There is nothing wrong with most of the Iranian people, but the leadership is bats#it crazy.

    2. How do YOU define Zionism because it’s a term that really hasn’t been used much in 100 years, when it was the definition of a movement for (originally) the re-establishment of and (now) the development of and protection of a democratic Jewish nation in what had been Israel 2000 or 3000 years earlier. It appears to me the establishment of (not re-establishment because it never existed before 1991-*) and the development of and protection of a dictatorial Ukrainian nation in what was formerly the Soviet Union (and before that — for 1000 years — Rus) is really the thing that “has total control over US policy.” We should deepsix that thinking as soon as possible.
      *Some would argue that Ukraine has existed since 1920 or so when Lenin and Stalin created Ukraine to unsuccessfully get themselves an extra seat in the Leage of Nations and later to successfully get Stalin that extra seat in the UN (because FDR — like most people today — couldn’t find Ukraine on a map)

      1. “How do YOU define Zionism”

        In most cases anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Don’t assume otherwise.

      2. Dennis B, of course, what I said was on topic. Look at the headline of today’s topic, …”vote to ban any speakers who support Israel or Zionism.” That directly speaks of Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

        You asked for a definition of Zionism. In today’s parlance, most people who claim anti-Zionism are using the term to prevent being called anti-Semitic, which they are. Do you not recognize these things? Would you like to rephrase your statement?

        “Zionism because it’s a term that really hasn’t been used much in 100 years”

        If you are using a recipe in baking a cake, you likely will not hear the word Zionism. If you are not discussing Israel, Jewish affairs, or prejudice, the word Zionism likely will not arise. Where these discussions exist, you will hear the word Zionism mentioned many times. The inclusion of the Anti-Zionist word will frequently occur in discussions of anti-Semitism since that is often their excuse.

        I do not hold it against you that you do not see the word used. That might not be an area of interest for you.

        “Jewish nation in what had been Israel 2000 or 3000 years earlier. It appears to me the establishment of (not re-establishment because it never existed before 1991-*)”

        You have said two opposite things in the above statement. Israel existed earlier, and Israel was reestablished in 1948 based on the same Old Testament, language, and culture.

        Following that statement, you changed the subject to Ukraine. Perhaps you were copying and missed some text.

        However, where Ukraine and Russia are concerned international law prevails. According to international law, Russia occupies Ukraine.

        “is really the thing that “has total control over US policy.” We should deepsix that thinking as soon as possible.”

        This statement as well seems to be misplaced. I assume you are saying that Jews have control over US policy or are copying another. It is true that despite the small number of Jews in the world, they have a lot of influence. That is true. Look at the number of Jewish Nobel Prizes in the sciences. It dwarfs most of the world. Look at how Jews were able to make deserts into farmland and then produce an incredible industrial complex.

        Do you fault them for succeeding? Does their success stop anyone else from it? How has that hurt you? You benefitted. Much of what you do daily is related to Israeli high tech. Other groups have advanced rapidly. Some might equal or surpass the Jews. That is fantastic because it makes the world better for all, including you.

      3. How can there be a “democratic” Israel when they are a religiously ethnic state that refuses others. But worse than just refuse others, actively is stealing their lands.

        1. Perhaps you have too many erroneous books in your collection. Let us start with the fact that Israel has Muslim Arabs on their Supreme Court and in the Knesset. Arab, Christian, and Jewish Israeli citizens ( plus other religions) have equal rights, except Arabs do not have to be in the military even though many are. They fight bravely for the State of Israel.

          Tell us how Democratic the Abbas or Hamas government is.

          “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us” _Golda Meir

  17. These student groups are silly and bordering on childishness. One more reason to oppose student loan forgiveness. Blue collar workers wouldn’t have been so whiny, but their taxes will pay for these nitwits to shut down other points of view worthy of debate.

    1. Excellent point Ruben . . . in a Reply I posted a minute ago, I also called them, “children” and wondered where are the adults?

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