Colleges and universities in the United States, with a few notable exceptions, haven’t been institutions of higher learning for quite some time; instead, they’re centers for Leftist, America-hating indoctrination, and, that being the case, are in crying need of drastic reform or should be shut down altogether. Now Michael Lawler, a New York state assemblyman who is running for Congress, says that if he is elected, he will introduce legislation that would strip public funding from the University of California, Berkeley, and few politicians have even had a better idea.
Berkeley has become a national symbol of Leftist lunacy, but it’s taken things to the next level recently when eight major student groups voted to ban pro-Israel speakers from speaking at Berkeley’s Law School. That’s right: a significant portion of the student body of one of the most prominent universities in the United States, the home of the legendary Free Speech movement, has come out squarely against the freedom of speech. Berkeley has made the Left’s increasingly open antisemitism official policy. Berkeley has made the Left’s opposition to the freedom of expression and open discourse, as well as its Jew-hatred, open and undeniable.
Lawler remarked Monday: “It’s insane to prohibit those who support the State of Israel from speaking in a time when, as we saw at SUNY Brockport, college campuses allow unrepentant cop killers and domestic terrorists to speak at their university. For our country to thrive, it must encourage diversity of opinion and thought.” Why would an aspiring New York congressman care about something happening in a California university? “I’m speaking out on something happening in California because what happened there is becoming a norm everywhere,” Lawler explained. “This kind of policy puts a target on their back and it’s unacceptable.”
Exactly. 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 neo-Nazi student 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.”
The reaction of the dean of Berkeley Law, Erwin Chemerinsky, was mild and carefully worded: “It is troubling to broadly exclude a particular viewpoint from being expressed.” Troubling? It’s more than 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.”
Freedom of expression? 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, 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.
Even worse is the fact 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.
What has happened at Berkeley is the fruit of years of Leftist dominance of the campus. Today, ideas 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. Berkeley just made it official.