More than 30 Jewish and pro-Israel organizations signed a letter this week asking nine student organizations at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law to rescind their recent move to create “Jew-free zones” that seek to prevent the invitation of pro-Israel speakers to campus.
The student groups passed a bylaw stating that they would refuse to invite speakers supporting “Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine.”
“The bylaw is a vicious attempt to marginalize and stigmatize the Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel community and to normalize the requirement that Zionist Jews hide or alter a fundamental aspect of their identity in order to be fully accepted in certain arenas,” the pro-Israel organizations wrote in a letter published by the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles on Oct. 3. “This is unabashed anti-Semitism. The fact that nine student organizations at Berkeley Law have already adopted this view raises a very real concern that they will work to persuade others to do the same. Indeed, such a requirement by even one club is too many.”
They added, “As a first step, the nine student organizations should rescind the new, discriminatory provisions from their bylaws or face appropriate sanctions for their failure to do so.”
Liora Rez — executive director of StopAntisemitism, one the organizations that signed the letter — said that “the audacity of these groups to think they are being progressive by excluding Jews is abhorrent.”
“California taxpayers, Berkeley alumni and university donors should not be contributing one penny to any Berkeley law school linked group that has signed on to such pernicious censorship. Those involved with this campaign should be sanctioned by the Law School and barred from any honors or law reviews,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, leaders of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, another group that signed the letter.