Our nation’s colleges and universities have for years now been radioactive wastelands of far-Left indoctrination, where idea that oppose the establishment narrative are not evaluated or discussed at all except in order to make it clear to the hapless targets of this indoctrination that those who entertain them will be vilified, demonized, ostracized, and possibly expelled from school and rendered too notoriously toxic to get a job in their chosen field. Now the University of California, Berkeley, always an academic trendsetter, has made the Left’s increasingly open antisemitism official policy, as nine student groups have adopted a policy that prohibits people who support Israel from speaking at events. Berkeley, the home in the 1960s of the legendary “Free Speech” movement, has now come full circle and made the Left’s opposition to the freedom of expression and open discourse, as well as its Jew-hatred, open and undeniable.
The New York Post reported Friday that “the controversial bylaw, updated for the new academic year by a pro-Palestinian group on campus, says it aims to stop the spread of Zionist beliefs.” Berkeley Law Students for Justice in Palestine explained that the nine neo-Nazi organizations “will not invite speakers that have expressed interest and continue to hold views, host, sponsor or promote events in support of Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel and the occupation of Palestine.”
Meanwhile, the dean of Berkeley Law, Erwin Chemerinsky’s response was mild and carefully worded: “It is troubling to broadly exclude a particular viewpoint from being expressed.” Troubling? It’s totalitarian, it’s evil, it’s against the very idea of what a university is supposed to be, and it shouldn’t be tolerated. “Indeed, taken literally, this would mean that I could not be invited to speak because I support the existence of Israel, though I condemn many of its policies.” He had to add that condemnation, or else he would have been banished forever from the soirees of the enlightened Leftists. Chemerinsky continued: “The principles of community for the Berkeley campus stress that we are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue that elicits the full spectrum of views held by our varied communities.”
Ensuring freedom of expression? Really? At Berkeley? The same Berkeley that canceled speeches by David Horowitz, Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter after authoritarian Leftist thugs threatened violence? The same Berkeley that had to pay $70,000 to Young America’s Foundation (YAF) over its efforts to prevent conservative speakers from appearing on campus? The ban on pro-Israel speakers just makes official what has been unofficial policy on campuses nationwide for years: not just pro-Israel speakers, but all opposing voices, are not allowed. Those who somehow get past all the hurdles and actually get an opportunity to speak will be shouted down, or subjected to walkouts, or even physically menaced. College and university campuses today are fascist states in which only one point of view is acceptable to be enunciated. Berkeley just made it official.
Those who would take refuge in the fact that this ban comes from student groups and not from the university itself should take note of what Kenneth Marcus pointed out in the Jewish Journal: “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.” In other words, groups that represent the fruit of the Left’s decades-long embrace of identity politics have joined together in this open expression of anti-Semitism. They’re just the kind of students that our colleges and universities want to produce these days.
Marcus added: “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.”
Indeed. And an even deeper moral shame is that Chemerinsky defended the students’ actions, even as he expressed his mild disapproval, by having the audacity to invoke the freedom of speech: “It is important to recognize that law student groups have free speech rights, including to express messages that I and others might find offensive.” All right. So they have the right to express messages that others might find offensive, but others do not have the right to express messages that they find offensive. They have the freedom of speech. Pro-Israel speakers do not. Conservative speakers do not.
Those who doubt David Horowitz’s dictum, “inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out,” should ponder these events at Berkeley carefully. The totalitarians have gotten out, and they’re making the rules. Back in the 1920s and early 1930s, Nazism first spread widely on German campuses. Now today, the Left’s authoritarianism, fascism, and contempt for free discourse has come out into the open and become stated policy first on campuses. But it won’t end there.