Taxpayer and donor-funded systemic anti-Semitism at Berkeley

Jewish donors gave UC Berkeley over $450 million in one year.

Jewish students face a climate of anti-Israel intimidation on several California campuses, including from UC Berkeley SJP. Credit: Students for Justice in Palestine at University of California, Berkeley.
Jewish students face a climate of anti-Israel intimidation on several California campuses, including from UC Berkeley SJP. Credit: Students for Justice in Palestine at University of California, Berkeley.
Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born journalist who writes for conservative publications.

Berkeley’s $3 billion budget comes from taxpayers, through tuition paid for by government scholarships, state, local and federal grants, state funding and tax deductible contributions. While the University of California school insists that “the state provides just 14 percent of the university’s revenue,” taxpayers actually fund or underwrite much of its operation.

And that operation is systemically anti-Semitic.

When nine campus groups at the UC Berkeley School of Law announced that they wouldn’t host the vast majority of Jewish speakers (as Dean Erwin Chemerinksy admitted that it “would exclude about, I don’t know, 90 percent or more of our Jewish students”), it made headlines around the world. It was also in violation of federal and state non-discrimination laws.

The University of California is a 501(c)(3), and the UC Berkeley Foundation is the college’s own nonprofit. And UC Berkeley Law is eager to accept everything from gifts of stocks to cryptocurrency. Taxpayers subsidize this system, even though the UC Berkeley Foundation has assets approaching $3 billion. That money helps fund its systemic anti-Semitism.

Systemic anti-Semitism at the UC Berkeley School of Law is not just a private policy. The creation of “Jewish-Free Zones” at the law school are being subsidized by taxpayers.

And by Jewish donors.

In ’21, Scott Shenker, a computer scientist, wrote UC Berkeley a $25 million check. That same year the Wertheim Family Foundation pledged $100 million to UC Berkeley Optometry. A year earlier, Bob Haas injected yet another $24 million into UC Berkeley. And they are not alone.

In 2021 alone, large Jewish donors and foundations provided an estimated $450 million in donations and multi-year pledges to UC Berkeley, including funding a dorm with yoga and meditation rooms. UC Berkeley Law, specifically, scored a $250,000 and at least a million-dollar donation from Jewish donors.

That money funds the excesses and abuses of an anti-Semitic campus and university system.

Rather than being grateful for the assistance of Jewish donors, who subsidize their comfortable lifestyle and education, including meditation rooms, UC Berkeley’s student leftist groups lashed out at them. When the Helen Diller Foundation, which also funds pro-Israel, conservative and anti-terrorist groups, provided a $10 million donation to UC Berkeley Law to create a Jewish and Israel studies program, campus anti-Israel groups demanded that the school “immediately return the $10 million donation and restore the original name of the institute.”

Despite taxpayers subsidizing UC Berkeley and its schools, there is a similar lack of gratitude toward the country by student leftist groups who agitate against America on a daily basis.

UC Berkeley has a long, storied history of anti-Semitism, not just from bigoted students organized into campus hate groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, but coming from the top down.

Hatem Bazian, the former student activist who co-founded Students for Justice in Palestine and who has done more than any single figure to normalize anti-Semitism on college campuses, still teaches at UC Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender. After one of his anti-Semitic outbursts, UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion agreed that Bazian had “crossed the line between criticism of Israel and unacceptable anti-Semitism.”

That was in 2017. Five years later, Bazian is still there.

There’s no level of “unacceptable anti-Semitism” that UC Berkeley isn’t willing to accept.

Andrew Gutierrez, an academic BDS supporter, heckled a rally against anti-Semitism He’s still there, too. And Jewish donors keep funding this anti-Semitic swamp.

While UC Berkeley has done nothing about anti-Semitism, it has vigorously responded to efforts to fight campus anti-Semitism, with lies and legal threats.

After the story about UC Berkeley’s “Jew-Free Zones” broke, UC Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky rushed to deny that any such thing is taking place, claiming that the boycott of Jewish speakers is “offensive,” “but they have the right to say it. To punish these student groups, or students, for their speech would clearly violate the Constitution.”

But when Accuracy in Media protested the “Jew-Free Zone” with a campus truck that broadcast the names of anti-Semitic students, Chemerinsky was furious. “Whatever the disagreement on issues, to put students’ names on the side of the truck was despicable,” he ranted.

“We’re exploring whether there’s any action that can be taken against Accuracy in Media for the truck,” he threatened.

According to Chemerinsky, banning Jews is protected by the Constitution, but naming anti-Semitic students should be subject to legal action.

These are the anti-Semitic double standards at UC Berkeley and UC Berkeley Law.

Systemic discrimination is based around double standards such as these. And taxpayers and Jewish donors unfortunately continue to subsidize the systemic anti-Semitism at UC Berkeley.

If Jewish donors want to continue the self-destructive funding of anti-Semitism at UC Berkeley with their own money, that is their own business, but taxpayers should not be subsidizing it.

A university system that engages in systemic discrimination, no matter how politically correct, whether that of affirmative action, anti-Semitism or any other kind, should not be able to fund itself with nonprofits and should not be backed by taxpayer funds through direct funding, grants or any kind of public subsidies. We should not pay for systemically racist systems. Period.

Systemic anti-Semitism persists at UC Berkeley because there are never any real consequences. A few news stories come out and some public figures tepidly condemn the latest hateful act and call for action. But the university knows all too well that while the temporary outburst of indignation may slow down the pace of a few donations, the money will come pouring in anyway. The only way to change the culture at UC Berkeley is to cut off its cash flow.

As long as systemic anti-Semitism remains profitable for UC Berkeley, it will not go away.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

This article was first published by FrontPage Magazine.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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