Monday, March 4, 2024

Jewish groups sue University of California over uncontrolled antisemitism

Jewish groups are suing policies implemented by at least 23 student groups at Berkeley Law that exclude students from participating or prohibit guest speakers from presenting if they do not agree to the waiver. in Israel or if they identify as Zionists. They argue that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism and say the policies violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, the First Amendment right to religious freedom, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and others. yet.

“Conditioning a Jew’s ability to join a student group on his rejection of a core part of Jewish identity is no less harmful than demanding the rejection of some other essential element of one’s identity as a student, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual identity,” the lawsuit said. “Such imposition is not required—or remotely tolerated—on other students.”

The groups accused Berkeley and the UC system of not taking action against policies that “betray” Jewish students and faculty. They argued that the student group’s policies violated a university policy that prohibits registered student groups, including law school groups, from imposing restrictions on membership based on race, color, country of origin, and religion.

Jewish groups want the court to intervene and require the university and university system to enforce their policies and prohibit discrimination against Jewish students, faculty, and guest speakers. They said Berkeley proposed that student body policies discriminate on the basis of viewpoint and not race, ethnicity, or religion, but campus leaders also acknowledged that the policies could be “deeply offensive to some Jewish members.”

“By abdicating responsibility and failing to act as required by UC rules and US law, the university has managed to normalize anti-Jewish hatred on campus,” the lawsuit said. “Jewish students feel compelled to hide their identities.”

In addition, the groups said that the university failed to solve the antisemitic incident on campus after the October 7 Hamas attack. They said the students’ celebration of the Hamas attacks resulted in violence against Jewish students. A Jewish student wearing an Israeli flag was attacked by protesters who hit him in the head with a metal water bottle, according to the complaint, and some Jews received “hateful e-mails calling for them to gasp and kill.” Jewish students also said they were afraid to attend class because of the protests.

“The students stated that the school did little to protect Jewish students, as if the school condoned anti-Semitism,” the complaint said. “They added that university officials showed a ‘general disregard’ for Jewish students. They don’t have much confidence that UC will protect them from anti-Semitic mobs.”

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