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UC Berkeley law dean confronts Palestinian protest in his home

Erwin Chemerinsky and his wife host dinner for graduates when a Muslim student insists on making a speech on the plight of Palestinians and refuses to leave when asked; dean says is also victim of antisemitism calling for his dinner to be disrupted

A dinner hosted by the deal of UC Berkeley law, Erwin Chemerinsky and his wife Prof. Catherine Fisk, earlier this week, was disrupted when a graduate student stood up and spoke out against Israel's war in Gaza and the plight of Palestinians. Chemerinsky asked her to stop and leave, claiming she was a guest in his home, prompting protest from at least 10 others who supported her and ultimately left along with her.
Pro-Palestine student disrupts event at Berekley professor's home

In a video clip of the incident that went viral online, the 70-year-old professor and his wife who is also a professor at the school, are seen shouting at the student as she continues her speech. At some point, the wife attempts to forcibly remove the student who later lodged a complaint claiming she was attacked and her freedom of speech violated. The student, Malak Afaneh now threatens to sue the university as well.
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Berkeley Law student disrupts dean's dinner with pro-Palestine speech
Berkeley Law student disrupts dean's dinner with pro-Palestine speech
Berkeley Law student disrupts dean's dinner with pro-Palestine speech
(Photo: Screenshot)
"I am enormously sad that we have students who are so rude as to come into my home, in my backyard, and use this social occasion for their political agenda," the dean said in a message he shared on the Berkley Law website.
"I have spent my career staunchly defending freedom of speech. I have spent my years as dean trying hard to create a warm, inclusive community. I am deeply saddened by these events and take solace that it is just a small number of our students who would behave in such a clearly inappropriate manner," he said.
Chemerinsky also shared his distress over an antisemitic post ahead of the dinner portraying him as bloodthirsty and accompanied by the words: “No dinner with Zionist Chem while Gaza starves.”
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Antisemitic portrayal of UC Berkeley Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky
Antisemitic portrayal of UC Berkeley Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky
Antisemitic portrayal of UC Berkeley Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky
"I never thought I would see such blatant antisemitism, with an image that invokes the horrible antisemitic trope of blood libel and that attacks me for no apparent reason other than I am Jewish," he wrote.
UC Berkeley’s Chancellor Carol Christ said she was appalled and deeply disturbed by what occurred at Dean Chemerinsky’s home. “I have been in touch with him to offer my support and sympathy. While our support for Free Speech is unwavering, we cannot condone using a social occasion at a person’s private residence as a platform for protest.”
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