HomeU.S.At Berkeley Law, controversies over Judaism, free speech, and campus ideals

At Berkeley Law, controversies over Judaism, free speech, and campus ideals

“Supporting the liberation of Palestine does not mean opposition to the Jewish people or the Jewish religion,” the group said in a statement to the Berkeley Law Society. Members of the group did not respond to messages seeking an interview.

After learning about the bylaw, Mr. Chemerinsky met with the university’s Hillel rabbi and spoke with several Jewish students, but, apart from concerns within the law school, the response was relatively muted, he said.

He said that during the Trump administration, the head of civil rights of the US Department of Education, Kenneth L. After Marcus wrote about the bylaw in The Jewish Journal in September under the explosive headline “Berkeley Develops Jewish Free Zone,” he said.

Mr. Marcus wrote that the bylaw was “terrifying and unexpected, like a knock on the door in the night” and said free speech did not protect discriminatory treatment.

The article went viral.

Mr. Chemerinsky said he learned of Mr. Marcus’s article, which he described as “inflammatory and perverted,” while he was in Los Angeles for a conference. Mr. Chemerinsky said he typed a response to the article, which was added to it, and then didn’t think much of it. That afternoon, he was distracted by email. At an alumni event that night, the law school’s perceived hostility toward Jews was “anyone who wanted to talk.”

In an interview, Mr. Marcus, a Berkeley Law School alumnus, said he had been contacted by law students there who were concerned about the bylaw. He said he spent weeks advocating for them and wrote his article after Berkeley “didn’t fix the problem.”

Not allowing Zionist speakers, he said, was a proxy for banning Jews. The provisions, he said, “target the Jewish community and those who support the Jewish community,” even acknowledging that the policy may allow Jewish speakers and bar those who are not Jewish.

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