by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The University of California, Berkeley, Law School suffers from “profound and deep-seated anti-Semitic discrimination,” according to a copy of a complaint filed against the school with the Education Department and reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
The complaint—submitted last week by a Florida-based attorney and the International Legal Forum, a global watchdog that fights anti-Semitism—alleges anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias at the law school after nine student groups in August adopted bylaws that ban Zionist speakers from the campus.
The school’s decision to go along with the ban on pro-Israel speakers constitutes a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents recipients of federal funds from discriminating based on race and national origin, according to the complaint. The petitioners urge the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights to immediately “open an investigation against the University of California, Berkeley, Law School” and order it to remove this ban on Zionists.
The complaint comes amid a rise in anti-Semitism on America’s college campuses. Assaults on Jewish students and their identity doubled in the 2021 to 2022 academic year especially at schools with large Jewish populations, the Free Beacon reported last week. Last month at George Washington University, for instance, flyers stating “Zionists Fuck Off” were affixed on the campus’s Hillel building, a center for Jewish life. The Hillel building at the University of Southern California in August was also defaced, with vandals smashing the building’s front side.
The Education Department must determine whether Berkeley Law is violating the Civil Rights Act and then force the university to “invalidate the bylaws in question,” according to the complaint. The watchdog also wants Berkeley’s leaders to ensure that any group endorsing the anti-Zionist provisions is blocked from receiving school funds and has its status as a “recognized student organization” revoked.