Antisemitism, Israel-Gaza War

Watch: Palestinian activists hijack luncheon hosted by Jewish university dean

Pro-Palestinian students took over a festive meal at the private home of a the Berkeley law dean to protest the war in Gaza. 

Berkeley Law School (Photo: DJ Sinop/Shutterstock)

Radicalization in academia

During a meal organized in his private home by the dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Berkeley, a group of pro-Palestinian students arrived and blew up the meal.

The Jewish dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, invited dozens of law school students to his home in Oakland, for what was supposed to be a festive introduction evening.

The commotion began when a Palestinian American student who was invited to the dinner, stood up in front of the guests and began to give a speech about the Palestinians dying in Gaza, and about her demand that the university renounce corporations that support Israel, as well as the occupation of "Palestinian lands." The festive event quickly turned into arguments regarding the Israel-Hamas war, freedom of speech, and accusations of anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish hatred.

The protester claimed that the dean's wife attacked her after the dean approached the student and asked her to leave. She continued even when the law professor's wife asked her to leave her private residence.

The hijab-wearing student, Malek Afaneh, later claimed that the dean's wife assaulted her, and that her freedom of speech rights were denied. The University of Berkeley was shocked by the case and rushed to stand behind the dean: "I am shocked and very concerned about what happened at Dean Chemerinsky's house last night," said the president of the University of Berkeley, Carol Christ, in a statement.

"I was in contact with him to offer my support and sympathy. Although our support for freedom of expression is unwavering, we cannot agree to use a social event in a person's private residence as a platform for protest."

Chairman of the council of the University of California, Rich Leib, referred to the student's actions and said they were antisemitic: "Unfortunately... the people who targeted this event did so simply because it was hosted by a Jewish dean. These actions were antisemitic, threatening, and do not reflect the values of this university," he was quoted as saying.


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