AIM exclusive: Berkeley students double down on ban of Jewish speakers
November 21, 2022
Accuracy in Media has been covering antisemitism at the University of California at Berkeley Law School for weeks. We sent a mobile billboard calling it out, and then exposed the students responsible. But before moving forward, it was time to meet the students firsthand.
So AIM President Adam Guillette set out to find answers — and captured those answers, or at least the attempts to get answers, in a man-on-the-street video.
“Is it OK for Berkeley student groups to ban Jews from speaking on campus?” Guillette asked one student.
“That’s not what’s happening,” she said.
“What’s happening?” he asked.
“It’s — that’s not what’s happening,” she said. She then walked away.
Another student claimed that the bylaw did not ban pro-Israel speakers from speaking. But the bylaw says the following:
“We will not invite speakers that have expressed and continue to hold views… in support of Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine,” the bylaw, written by Berkeley Law for Palestine and signed by 8 other student groups, states.
Guillette asked another student directly whether it was alright for groups to ban anybody who supports Israel.
“Yup,” she said. Guillette followed up, asking what was wrong with Israel, and that student claimed, “It’s not a real state.”
In some cases, Guillette got no answer at all. One student simply said, “I want you to leave.”
Guillette asked him, “What would make it better for students on this campus?”
“You not being here,” he said. “You are not a part of our campus, you’re not a part of our conversation, and you need to leave.”
Some students said that antisemitism was not an issue on their campus.
“I’ve never heard anything of Jewish-free spaces here,” one student said. “I’ve never heard from any student that they’ve experienced antisemitism. Everything is being wildly blown out of proportion.”
But actual Jewish students student told Guillette another story. One stated that the common “rhetoric or propaganda in my [Jewish] community is, like, oh, don’t go to Berkeley, they don’t accept Jews. They hate you. You know, things like that.”
Another student added, “As a Jewish-identifying student, it’s really scary to be on campus right now.”
The names of leaders of the groups that adopted the bylaw have already been shown on AIM’s mobile billboard and driven around campus. But beginning next week, Accuracy in Media will be publishing them online so that future employers can understand the kind of person they’re hiring.