Kenneth L. Marcus
Jewish Journal, Sept. 28, 2022
“… the exclusionary bylaws operate like racially restrictive covenants, precluding minority participation into perpetuity.”
If it wasn’t so frightening, one might be able to recognize the irony in the sight of campus progressives trying so hard to signal progressive virtue that they fall victim to a deeper moral shame.
Nine different law student groups at the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Law, my own alma mater, have begun this new academic year by amending bylaws to ensure that they will never invite any speakers that support Israel or Zionism. And these are not groups that represent only a small percentage of the student population. They include Women of Berkeley Law, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association, Law Students of African Descent and the Queer Caucus. Berkeley Law’s Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, a progressive Zionist, has observed that he himself would be banned under this standard, as would 90% of his Jewish students.
It is now a century since Jewish-free zones first spread to the San Francisco Bay Area (“No Dogs. No Jews”). Nevertheless, this move seems frightening and unexpected, like a bang on the door in the night.
Berkeley law students are not the first to exclude Zionists. At the State University of New York at New Paltz, activists drove two sexual assault victims out of a survivor group for being Zionists. At the University of Southern California, they drove Jewish student government vice president Rose Ritch out of office, threatening to “impeach [her] Zionist ass.” At Tufts, they tried to oust student judiciary committee member Max Price from the student government judiciary committee because of his support for Israel.
These exclusions reflect the changing face of campus antisemitism. The highest profile incidents are no longer just about toxic speech, which poisons the campus environment.
Now anti-Zionist groups target Jewish Americans directly.