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Tags: academia | antisemitism | zionism | civil rights

Berkeley Law School Under Scrutiny Over Alleged Antisemitism

Berkeley Law sign
Berkeley Law sign (Stelya/

By    |   Tuesday, 22 November 2022 01:16 PM EST

The University of California, Berkeley, Law School has a "profound and deep-seated antisemitic discrimination," a complaint file against the school with the Education Department read.

A Florida-based attorney and the International Legal Forum, a watchdog for antisemitism, allege anti-Israel and antisemitic bias after nine student groups in August adopted bylaws banning Zionist speakers from the campus.

The ban violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act, preventing recipients of federal funding from discriminating based on race and national origin. The petitioners have urged the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights to "open an investigation against the University of Berkeley, Law School" and order the removal of all bans on Zionists.

The Education Department must decide whether Berkeley Law violates the Civil Rights Act and then force the university to "invalidate the bylaws in question," according to the complaint.

The International Legal Forum wants Berkley's leaders to ensure that any group endorsing the anti-Zionist provisions be blocked from receiving school funds and have its status as a "recognized student organization" revoked.

Students and facility could be forced to participate in training to foster a culture "free of antisemitic harassment and discrimination," the complaint reads.

Berkley Law officials, including Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, attempted to downplay the issue saying "only a handful of student groups out of over 100 at Berkley Law did this." Legal advocates say it's all inexcusable.

"It is unfathomable that a similar statement would ever be made that 'only a handful' of student groups banned speakers of any other ethnic, religious, or racial group," states the complaint, authored in part by Gabriel Groisman, a Florida-based attorney and advocate of Jewish rights. "Yet such blatant discrimination directly targeted against Jews is being excused, justified, and mainstreamed. The university's posture is untenable under the law."

The complaint alleged Chemerinsky "had neither called for [the group's] revocation nor has he taken any meaningful action in response to this egregious act of discrimination."

The nine officially recognized groups "will not invite speakers that have expressed and continued to hold views of host/sponsor/promote events supporting Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine."

The complaint alleges a targeting of Jewish and pro-Israel individuals based on their religious identity or national background. It is "forced exclusion" of primarily Jewish students, the complaint states, "is illegal and a flagrant violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act."

"There can be no equivocations: Anti-Zionism is antisemitism," says the complaint.

Groisman and the International Legal Forum told the Free Beacon that masking Jew-hatred through anti-Zionism will not prevent Berkeley from being investigated.

"Federal laws are in place to protect students from discriminatory actions," he said. "The student groups at UC Berkeley tried to be cute by hiding their discrimination against Jews by excluding Zionists. We are confident that the U.S. Department of Education will see right through them and protect the students under the protections afforded by Title VI."

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The University of California, Berkeley, Law School has a "profound and deep-seated antisemitic discrimination," a complaint filed against the school with the Education Department read.
academia, antisemitism, zionism, civil rights
Tuesday, 22 November 2022 01:16 PM
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