Monday, October 17, 2022






        When cancer appears in almost any person, virtually no one puts up with it for long even if it affects “only” 9 percent of their body. Almost everyone acts quickly to cut it out or stop it in its tracks. Why? Because cancers often metastasize and spread.


        So why, when almost all college and university officials would agree that open discrimination in their schools and colleges amounts to academic cancer, does the UC Berkeley School of Law put up with an obvious case? And why don’t campus officials even mention the UC Regents’  ban on anti-Semitism at all their campuses?


        While they deny being anti-Semitic, some Berkeley Law student groups have essentially set themselves up as “Jew-free” zones, as one newspaper termed it. If they singled out anyone but Jews, their actions would be denounced roundly by liberals and progressives as threats to free speech, discipline to follow.


        Not that anti-Semitism is new to UC campuses, especially Berkeley, where 10 years ago, Palestinian students set up roadblocks near the landmark Sather Gate, stopping and harassing anyone they thought might be a Jew. Those students went unpunished.


        So far, nine law student groups now have bylaws banning speakers who support Israel or Zionism, the concept that Jews are entitled to sovereignty in their historic homeland. Under the last four presidents, the United States government has defined this as anti-Semitism.


        Among others, the groups include Women of Berkeley Law, Asian Pacific American Law Students, Law Students of African Descent and the Queer Caucus.


        Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, a self-described “progressive Zionist,” wrote after the group actions were exposed that he would be excluded under the rule, along with 90 percent of the school’s Jewish students.


        This rule was suggested by the Law Students for Justice in Palestine. Ironically, while Palestinians enjoy self-government in Gaza and the West Bank areas adjacent to Israel, they bring little justice, with killing and torture commonplace for persons who oppose dictatorial regimes there.


        Chemerinsky says “only a handful of student groups (nine) out of over 100 at Berkeley Law did this.”


        Chemerinsky, previously the founding dean of the UC Irvine Law School, noted that the groups “have free speech rights, including to express messages that I and others might find offensive.”


        In the context of polls showing the vast majority of American Jews (81 percent in one recent survey), believe it's important to care about Israel, Chemerinsky wrote that “excluding speakers on the basis of their viewpoint is inconsistent with our commitment to free speech.”


        But he’s done nothing about it. That’s also what other California public universities do about on-campus anti-Semitism: very little or nothing. When Palestinian students disrupted speeches by Israelis at the Irvine campus, they were not expelled. When student governments like UCLA’s tried to keep Jewish elected student officials from voting in their meetings strictly because they are Jews, no one was thrown out, even though those actions caused some Jewish students to transfer or hide their identities for fear of physical attacks.


        So far, Chemerinsky has not even chastised the groups which adopted the no-Zionists policy, instead writing that no group has yet acted on it. Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, called the groups’ new rule “regrettable,” but wrote that “there is no legal basis for sanctioning, defunding or deregistering” those clubs. Does this mean the Regents who employ her adopted an illegal rule against anti-Semitism?


        Would Chemerinsky or Christ be so passive if these were far-right anti-Semites like the Oath Keepers or Proud Boys? Do leftist anti-Semites get a pass?


        There is little doubt the student groups are now part of the new anti-Semitic movement that substitutes the term “anti-Zionist” for “anti-Semitic” when they push hatred of Jews.


        That same movement this month papered parts of San Marino and Pasadena on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur with flagrantly false and anti-Jewish flyers.


        It’s no wonder some Jewish students on UC campuses feel compelled to hide a major part of their identity. Which ought to lead the regents who nominally run UC to put some teeth in their anti-Semitism ban. For history repeatedly shows that when authorities leave anti-Semites unchecked, they often turn violent or murderous.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

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