UC Berkeley Law School’s “Jew-Free Zones”: The Latest Progressive Trend

For several decades, Jewish college students have been sounding the alarm about rising anti-Semitism on college campuses. From “mild” episodes of graffiti to BDS activism, Torah desecration, and Jewish fraternity house eggs, college campuses both in North America and around the world have become hotbeds of anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist activity.

Former President Trump rightly recognized campus antisemitism as a plague on higher education and America, signing an executive order to combat antisemitism in 2019. Unfortunately, since then the campus situation for Jewish students has not only not improved, but has deteriorated dramatically.

This is most evident in a move recently taken by law students at one of America’s most progressive university networks in one of America’s most progressive states. Earlier this academic year, nine law student groups at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law amended their bylaws to ensure that no one who supports Israel or Zionism is invited to speak. Given that the vast majority of Jews worldwide support the State of Israel, these student groups have essentially created a Jew-free zone within the hallowed halls of Berkeley Law.

The ruling would disfellowship the dean of law, Erwin Chemerinsky, who describes himself as a progressive Zionist – increasingly a contradiction in terms for progressives.

It is discriminatory and immoral to prohibit Jews or members of any other religious group from participating in civic activities, such as speaking at a publicly funded university. And if it becomes acceptable and normal in America to ban a Jew from speaking on a college campus because of an opinion about Israel or Zionism, what is to prevent the next step, which is normalizing the ban on Jews take part the same or other universities or other institutions?

Many young American Jews don’t stay here to find out the answer to that question. You see the writing on the campus wall and you see reports of the almost daily physical attacks on Jews in places like New York, or other egregious anti-Semitic blood libels like blaming Jews for the polio resurgence.

Just a few weeks ago, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) made the argument for effectively excluding pro-Israel Jews from progressive spaces. “I want you all to know that it has become clear among progressives that you cannot claim to have progressive values ​​but still support the Israeli apartheid government,” Tlaib said during a livestreamed conference marking Palestine Advocacy Day “. “We will continue to push back and not accept this idea that you are progressive except [Palestine] longer.”

Message received.

UC Berkeley
People walk through Sproul Plaza on the campus of UC Berkeley on March 14, 2022 in Berkeley, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Is it any surprise that law students think it’s okay to expel Jewish speakers when a congressman feels comfortable doing the same thing for the progressive movement on a grand scale?

It’s not something progressives are ashamed of, it’s something they’re proud of. For this reason, society in the broader sense must resolutely reject this discrimination against Jews.

Some might think that anti-Semitism is a Jewish problem. Unfortunately, this is not the case. History clearly shows that tolerance of anti-Semitism is a very clear signal of the general decline of a particular civilization.

The anti-Jewish climate in Berkeley, on college campuses, in the hallways of Congress, and on the streets of New York is not “only” a Jewish problem—for what begins with the Jews never ends with the Jews. American Jews may be fleeing California and New York to the calmer waters of DeSantis’ Florida, but this is really just a band-aid “fix” to a serious national problem.

Tolerating anti-Semitism, whether it emanates from the political left or the right, is a clear sign of civilization’s decline. And if it is not addressed and defeated in America, it will be recognized with hindsight as one of the clearest warning signs of the imminent and irreparable demise of the American republic.

Laura Rosen Cohen is a Toronto-based author.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

https://www.newsweek.com/uc-berkeley-law-schools-jew-free-zones-latest-progressive-trend-opinion-1748218 UC Berkeley Law School’s “Jew-Free Zones”: The Latest Progressive Trend

Rick Schindler

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